Dress for success & woman newspapers: my success story
The mission of Dress for Success South Central PA is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
29 South 10th Street
Out of ashes, comes hope by Judy Ortiz
y name is Judy Ortiz. I am 35 years old and a single mother of six beautiful, healthy children. Prior to living in Shippensburg, my family and I lived in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, where tragically we lost our home in a fire. That is where my story begins.
As a single mother I have always strived to do the best for my children. I have always worked and maintained work for long periods
of time, sometimes working 2-3 jobs to provide for my family. I would often find myself struggling between spending time with my children
and getting my bills paid. My goal was to successfully transition off government assistance.
Sadly, I lost my job due to new management and my office was closed. I was now seven months pregnant and dependent even more on government assistance and unemployment, and if that wasn’t bad enough, a few weeks after Christmas 2015 we lost everything.
In mid-January of 2016 after a long day’s work, I began to cook dinner when tragedy hit. That fire was the most horrific experience in our lives. All that I worked hard for was lost in an instant and all that remained was what matters most; my family. That is when my life changed.
Thanks to the help of the community and friends we were able to get everything replaced and were in a new home within two weeks. In April of 2016, I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl. She was the beginning of new hope and faith in my life. I dedicated the next few
months to making a better life for my children and me.
I was referred to EDSI, a Work Ready program which helps individuals not only find employment but brush up on job readiness skills. With my ability and work ethic, I felt confident I could find a rewarding job.
As the weeks went by, I became very doubtful that the job I wanted was around the corner. More and more, I felt I would have to quickly just find a job I didn’t love to provide for my family, but with the encouragement of the program staff, I was able to keep focusing on my dream job.
In mid-June 2016, I was offered an interview with EDSI followed by an interview with PathStone Corporation in Dauphin County. That is when I was introduced to Dress for Success South Central PA.
If you remember, I lost everything I owned during the house fire and I was also seven months pregnant at the time. All the clothing donated to me at the time no longer fit me and I literally had to start from scratch. Dress for Success provided me with essentials and interview clothing. I still remember the outfit I wore for my interviews and how great I felt.
Soon after, I was offered a job as a Case Manager / Workforce Development Associate, making more money than my prior employment and doing what I love most - helping others. I soon returned to Dress for Success for my employment fitting and I was provided with several outfits to get me started.
I now help individuals work through their barriers and find employment, but most of all I now provide them with what was provided to
me; a referral to Dress For Success.
Today, I am still employed with PathStone. My daughter is 9 months old, my children are doing great in school, I now own my own car and I have a beautiful home. I share my story with each client I work with in hopes that I can provide them with some hope, relieve some doubt and eliminate some fears.
I hope that my story will make a difference in the lives of single mothers all across the world, that no matter what you face in life, if
there is a will there is a way.