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
Strength in asking for help by Lori Saulisbury
y name is Lori Saulisbury. I am a Harrisburg native, the mother of an amazing son, and I have been married for 31 years. I am feeling blessed right now, but for many years I was struggling. Before April, 2017, I had been out of work since 2008. My position as a receptionist was eliminated during the recession, and I couldn’t find another job. I tried to stay positive and keep moving forward.
I returned to school (at age 50!) and decided to start my own one-woman organization, Lori Saulisbury Ministries: People of Prayer, Power, and Praise. I was still struggling financially, but I felt like I was living my purpose and knew that I was working my way toward something better.
When I was about half way through school, my father was diagnosed with cancer and began showing symptoms of dementia. I moved into his home and became his primary caretaker. As anyone who has had to care for an elder knows, this was extremely difficult work, and I was having trouble juggling the responsibilities of being a student, an outreach minister, and a caretaker. To make matters worse, I broke my ankle that same year, and was wheelchair-bound for several months as I recovered from my own surgery. Through it all, I continued my studies, but the expense and complications of my father’s illness became increasingly difficult to manage without steady income, and eventually my father and I almost lost our home. My father went to stay with my sister, but I found myself without a place to call home.
It was at that moment when I finally reached out and asked for help, and I am truly grateful that there were people and organizations that could help me when I was at my lowest point.
One of the leaders of my church offered me the position of ‘den mother’, and I became the live-in caretaker for the “True Vine House of Hope”. My father even became a resident, and the facility’s aids would spend time with him while I attended my classes. While I am sorry to say that he did not live to see me graduate, he saw me study hard and we used to talk about what I was learning. One of my favorite memories of that time was when he told me that he was proud of what I was doing, and that he would like to go back to school!
I am very active in the church, and when the position of Assistant Director of Operations became available, I knew I wanted to apply. Even though I had just earned my degree and had been active in ministry for 11 years, I was still nervous about reentering the workforce. I was referred to Dress for Success by the P.R.O.B.E. program, and my experience with Dress for Success gave me more hope. They cared about my situation, and were very sensitive and understanding.
I looked great and felt confident going in to my interview, and I am happy to say that I was offered the position! After I was hired, I returned to Dress for Success for an employment suiting, and I was so pleased to get a whole week’s worth of business attire to wear. I started my job in April, and it feels so good to finally have something nice to wear to the office!
Today, I walk around godly proud and I am thankful for Dress for Success. It was so nice to see that there were women out there who are willing to help other women in their hour of need and to give them the tools to be more productive and build their self-worth.
I hope that my story helps other women see that there is strength in asking for help. I know that it is hard, but sometimes you must do more than hold that hope in your heart, you’ve got to tell your story and reach out for help. There could be opportunities all around you, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.