Dress for Success Highlighted on National Makeover Day
Today is "National Makeover Day" on QVC, featuring Dress for Success and the stories of clients, including two local women, Clara and Lynette. Clara (pictured right) was featured this morning; Lynette will be featured tonight at 11 p.m.
Both women's stories are inspiring. Clara, for example, had worked the same job for 22 years and was laid off with one day's notice. She learned that she needed to develop computer skills in order to apply and market herself for new jobs, so she enrolled in computer classes at a community center, which led her to access services with Dress for Success Indianapolis (DFSI) in 2003. Since 2004, she has been employed as a customer service representative and trainer. Clara is an active member of DFSI's Professional Women's Group, helping launch the program in 2006 and currently having a leadership role. Clara has achieved great success—personally, on the job, and at DFSI.
Clara's story illustrates how women progress on their path to self-sufficiency in partnership with DFSI, which has served 5,700 women over ten years—including 1,000 in 2009. The average age of a DFSI client (as of March) is 45.5. 75 percent of women who participated are employed (65 percent full time), and they have an above-average wage of $10 per hour.
DFSI offers three main opportunities for clients:
* A suiting program, pairing clients with a volunteer personal shopper and allows a woman to shop in the boutique (pictured right) for head-to-toe interview attire, including a suit, shoes, hosiery, hair products, makeup, and purse. Women can also obtain a complete work outfit, including business attire and uniforms, such as scrubs, catering uniforms, and work boots.
* The Career Center and computer lab (pictured right), which allows women to develop a resume, learn basic job-seeking tips, and hear from motivational speakers, for example. Women attend meetings and events to help them learn social norms when interacting with others. DFSI often works with other organizations, who recommend clients to the Career Center. Starting in June, they will partner with Training Inc., another Women's Fund grantee, to serve additional clients and provide a tailored program.
* The Professional Women's Group (PWG), which includes opportunities for women to make personal plans, learn skills, and develop a support network (see participants' "Steps to Success" goals, pictured right). Graduates of can become members of a lifelong group. There is also a post-incarceration group, which helps women stay on track, set goals, recognize negative support systems, and have access to advocacy and other resources.
As you can see, Dress for Success Indianapolis does an amazing job helping women on their path to self-sufficiency. Women's Fund is proud to have supported them since their inception, including seed money to support their start in 1999. DFSI has grown in earnest since then, and has impacted countless inspirational clients, such as Clara, who are now living independently in our community.
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