Dress for Success is committed to providing services and opportunities to help women establish a solid work history and permanently leave the cycle of poverty. The support that DFS provides goes beyond just providing suitable clothing. Director of Volunteer Engagement Candy explains in this interview her role and the impact of DFS on the community.
What is your role, and what does success look like for you?
I am the Director of Volunteer Engagement. I recruit, train, and support our 300 active volunteers. We are a small staff of 6, and 97% of our services are provided by people giving their time. Success is when a client becomes part of the family and uses our services throughout her career journey.
What is the goal of DFS?
Many people know that we provide professional clothing for women, but our mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence. We do this through our six workforce development programs. We help women through personal and professional development, mentorship, and financial education.
What is successful client interaction?
Often clients come to us in the middle of scary transitions in their lives. You can see a lack of confidence, but they look happier, brighter, and lighter after one hour of being in our resource center! It is so rewarding.
What is your most memorable client success story?
There are so many, but one that always stands out to me was a woman that was attacked by her partner. He pulled chunks of her hair out at the roots, and she had patchy bald spots that were still healing. While talking to her about barriers impacting her employment, she told me, "look at me. I can't go to interviews like this." We keep hair extensions and wigs in our boutique. I was able to get her fitted with extensions. She then started showing up to our resource center every day to work on her resumes and job search. After a few weeks, she was hired at a new job. I was so proud of her for coming through such a difficult time!
How do intimates (bra and underwear) help DFS clients?
Often, women put their needs last, and when they face a long list of what their family needs are, they will leave themselves entirely off the list. Bras and underwear are necessary items for women, yet so often, women come to our boutique without them. By providing these items to women, she can focus on her family's needs and build the confidence she needs to find gainful employment.
How many women in a year does DFS help?
Last year we provided 2,640 units of service in our community! We helped 506 individual women!
What's the best way for people to help?
Right now, we are hosting a "Your hour, her power campaign" and asking supporters to give one hour of their salary to empower the women we serve. Supporters can click this link to give! https://secure.givelively.org/donate/dress-for-success-austin/your-hour-her-power
Underclub volunteers and donates to Dress for Success. To learn more about Underclub click here.