Dress for Success helps women achieve economic independence | Helping the Helpers
‘It’s so much more than clothing. Once you have the clothing, you start to rediscover the confidence, you start to feel better about yourself,’ Calynn Abdullah-Donbroc said
Dress for Success Pittsburgh’s mobile boutiques provide women with professional clothing, including scrubs and other specialty items, to help them on their journey toward economic independence (Herald-Standard photo).
By Karen Mansfield
WASHINGTON, Pa. — The mission for Dress for Success Pittsburgh, including its Washington County branch, goes far beyond providing clothing for women: the nonprofit empowers women who are entering and returning to the workforce.
In addition to providing attire, Dress for Success provides a continuum of services and long-term solutions to help women break a cycle of poverty and achieve economic independence.
“It’s so much more than clothing. Once you have the clothing, you start to rediscover the confidence, you start to feel better about yourself,” said Calynn Abdullah-Donbrock, DFS Communications and Development Manager.
Dress for Success is known for its mobile boutiques, which offer a solution to a barrier faced by many women: lack of access to transportation.
The mobile boutique makes it easier and more efficient to bring interview and employment clothing and employment readiness support to women right where they are – at colleges and universities, and community centers.
“The mobile boutiques give us the opportunity to reach women everywhere, in recovery homes, colleges, rural areas, and more,” said Abdullah-Donbrock.
She said scrubs and non-slip shoes are more in demand, as women are working in health care and in the hospitality and restaurant industries.
Each Dress for Success branch also contains a Connections Resource Center that provides DFS services through an online platform. It features local job boards, interview and employment preparation resources, professional styling guides, advice on navigating workplace culture, and physical, mental and emotional health resources to empower women in their holistic development.
Dress for Success hosts Fill-A-Bag sales at its Washington branch location at Washington Crown Center Mall in North Franklin Township. Fill-A-Bag sales provide shoppers the opportunity to purchase an empty shopping bag and fill it with as many “FAB-ulous” items from DFS’s overstock of inventory as possible.
Items include professional, business casual and everyday attire, along with some select vintage and formalwear finds. Funds raised will support boutique and mobile services for local women in 2023.
Cost is $30 for a small bag and $50 for a large bag.
The FAB sale will take place at the Washington Crown Center between December 2-5.
“Almost everyone who purchases a bag donates a bag back to a woman, so you can purchase a bag and purchase another for someone. It’s a win-win, and it’s pretty sweet, especially around the holiday,” said Abdullah-Donbrock.
Karen Mansfield is a reporter for the Herald-Standard of Uniontown, Pa. Helping the Helpers is a joint effort of the Herald-Standard and the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Readers may email her at [email protected].
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