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.

Dress For Success South Central PA

29 South 10th Street
Harrisburg, PA

(717) 232-1333

(717) 764-3330

(717) 270-5337

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.

Kendra before

Judy Ortiz