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
Hope and help comes full circle by Alecia
n May of 2009, I lost my job unexpectedly. As a single mother of two little girls, this was a devastating blow. I immediately reached out to the Lebanon CareerLink and began filling out applications. After submitting hundreds of resumes, I was finally called for an interview. I was excited, but nervous, and knew that it would be important to give the right impression. Knowing how worried I was, my contact at CareerLink referred me to Dress for Success. They provided me with a new interview outfit, a great haircut, and worked with me on interview skills. After a lot of practice, I went into my interview and I was hired on the spot! Although that job didn’t work out, it was an important milestone for me. The skills that I had learned and the experience I gained at that position helped me to move forward in my career.
In 2013, I once again found myself in a position where I needed a new job. Dress for Success was holding an event called “The Reunion”, where former clients are reunited with the staff and volunteers that served them. I saw it as a networking opportunity, and thought that at the very least they would be able to offer some good advice, so I printed my resume and went to the event. The casual mention that I was looking for work turned into a job interview, and the job interview turned into a career – at Dress For Success, the very place where my journey began.
Four years later, I am still with Dress for Success, now called Suits to Careers, Inc. I have held different positions within the organization and was recently awarded the title of Database Administrator. I have even authored a resource manual that is used by the entire organization and I am involved in training our volunteers. I love knowing that my work helps other women succeed, and it’s even more rewarding because I know what it is like to be on the other side of the conversation. My own talents and strengths have been enhanced by all the wonderfully empowering and uplifting relationships, with staff and volunteers.
My life is completely different than it was in 2009. Then, I was worried about how I was going to provide for my children’s very basic needs. I didn’t have much confidence in my skills or even in myself. Today, I feel empowered. I feel more independent than ever before, and my self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness have increased exponentially. When I look at what I have accomplished, I am proud that I can set such a strong example for my children. My oldest daughter has grown into a positive, confident, and persistent young woman who inspires me to improve those qualities in myself, and my youngest daughter’s intelligence and creativity helped her team make it to the state championships of ‘Odyssey of the Mind’, where her team placed fifth in the entire state for her division. I am also recently married, and we are in the process of buying our first real home.
I hope that my story inspires other women, not just other clients, but volunteers, too. I am inspired every day by the women I meet at Suits to Careers, Inc. The work that we do doesn’t just support our clients and their families today—it builds the foundation for a brighter tomorrow.