Community & Volunteering

Dress for success

The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Overview

Founded 1999
6 full-time employees
500+ volunteers

Categories

Women
Mentoring
Equality

Why I Volunteer with Dress for Success

I count myself as extremely lucky, I’m the little sister to a fantastic woman that LOVES clothes and shopping. I’ve been a fortunate recipient of many a lightly used workplace appropriate garments and shoes. If not for my very generous sister, I would have struggled to look professional early in my career when balancing Boston rent and college loans.

When I moved to Indianapolis I found a cute little apartment downtown, very close to the public library and walked or biked to work every day. One day, on my way home I noticed the Dress for Success offices just South of the library, less than a block from my apartment. I remembered that my sister really enjoyed volunteering with them years ago when she lived in Chicago and decided to sign-up.

 

Minimum wage vs. livable wage

In my first information session, we learned about the organization and what the lives of women who make minimum wage or just above minimum wage jobs. These women are often primary economic drivers of their family and typically put themselves last. We did an enlightening exercise where we did the math on making ends meet with a $10/hr job for a women with two small children in Indiana. During the exercise, it’s easy to see how difficult it is to make ends meet when you calculate rent, utilities, food, childcare, and a dependable vehicle. Getting ahead seemed impossible when you have zero wiggle room for anything to go wrong. At the end of the day, you’re stuck with no resources to invest in your skills and wardrobe. That’s where Dress for Success helps, their programs help women build skills, sharpen their resumes, and supply clothing for interviews as well as day-to-day attire.

Providing women with the supportive services they need to make life transitions that result in women achieving self-sufficiency and socioeconomic advancement.

Personal Shopping - Suiting Program - Ongoing

I volunteer every month, helping women one-on-on to find the perfect interview and work attire. We do a short in-take where I assess their measurements for fit and personal style for preferences. Then it’s off to the racks! I comb through the closet’s currated suits to find “the one” that will let them put their best foot forward.

It’s fun and rewarding to learn a little bit about them and see the transformation in their confidence. I look forward to my time with them every month, and you can too!

Group Volunteering Feburary 2018

The Indianapolis WISE chapter at Salesforce sponsors quarterly group VTO events. This past quarter, we were lucky to partner with Dress for Success to help organize a large donation of dresses from ModCloth.

We teamed up to sort and inventory 1,352 women’s dresses, ranging from XXS to 4X for women of all sizes. This project would have taken the small team of 6 employees months to complete. Together we finished in 3 hours! In addition, a couple team members polished ladies shoes so they could put their best foot forward at upcoming interviews.

We had an absolute blast sorting and organizing and were very glad we could put our past retail & organization skills to work, paying it forward to women in Indianapolis.

Volunteers left to right, Caitie Copple, Lindsey Mark, Shari Hall, LaGina Shockley, and Rindha Kundur. Volunteers not pictured Carrie Birge, Aishwarya Ramisetti, and Suzanne Zaleski.

“The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.” – Iyanla Vanzant

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