Since 2013, Dress for Success Sioux Falls has been empowering women in our community. By clothing them with interview outfits and mentoring them through job searching, Dress for Success treats their clients with dignity and respect and helps them to recognize their important role in society. Dress for Success recently became part of the EmBe family because the two visions align: To empower women and their families.
To support the organization, our Sioux Falls community can either donate or volunteer. Volunteer opportunities include coaching, mentoring, public speaking, administrative work or boutique maintenance. But Dress for Success Sioux Falls is most in need of client coaches, where women help women find professional attire and accessories for either an interview or a new job.
Client coach Ronda Headrick recalls one of her very first volunteer experiences at Dress for Success.
“Jennifer was scheduled for an interview suiting, as she had recently left an abusive husband and was trying very hard to put the pieces of her life back together,” Ronda says. “She spent the first part of her appointment crying and apologizing for doing so. However, by the end of our appointment, she looked in the mirror wearing the interview suit and cried again, but this time, it was because she said she couldn’t remember ever feeling so put together.”
Ronda says her client was so proud, she ran to her car to get her makeup bag so she could put eyeliner on with her new outfit.
“And Jennifer felt so good in her suit, that she ended up wearing it home that night! Each time I leave Dress for Success, my own life seems much less complicated,” she says, “and I have a sense of gratitude for all I’ve been blessed with.”
Volunteer Lisa Groon is grateful for the time she helped a client write her first resume.
“She’d experienced a lot of challenges over the years and wasn’t feeling confident about her work skills,” Lisa says. “But when we started discussing her work history, she discovered that she was actually skilled in a lot of ways and even had some managerial experience! The process of preparing the resume wasn’t just about the end product, it was about healing and building confidence.”
Then, as Lisa handed the client her completed resume, the client exclaimed with a smile, “I didn’t think I could do this, but I did it!”
Lynn Otis, who is a store manager at Macy’s in Sioux Falls, is also a volunteer at Dress for Success and agrees that many of the clients struggle with confidence.
“But the excitement you see from them when you are able to find them an outfit for interviewing or starting a new job truly makes your day!” she says. “There have been clients who have been out of the workforce for a long period of time and are afraid to make the first move. This truly builds their courage and confidence to better their lives.”
EmBe board member Michele Wellman agrees.
“When you help a client put on an outfit that you know looks great, their personality just shines through,” she says. “And if I can simply pick out an item of clothing that helps them feel confident and ready to take on the world, that is a gift I will give over and over again.”
Michele says that her time with clients is about more than new outfits. “I get to be a sympathetic ear and hear their stories,” she says. “I’m not always offering advice. Sometimes, I just want to listen, hear about their kids or an interview they had. But at the end of our time together, I always give a hug on the way out and encourage them to come back and schedule time with me so we can reconnect.”
Michele is invested and says that if you can connect with people, volunteering at Dress for Success is easy.
“I get so much more out of it than they do,” she says. “I float when I walk out of there!”
Volunteer Lynn agrees. “Dress for Success is women empowering other women, and it is extremely rewarding!”
There are two upcoming new volunteer trainings taking place this week for new Dress for Success Sioux Falls coaches – both career and client coaches!
If you would like to volunteer at Dress for Success Sioux Falls, email DFSSFOffice@embe.org with your name, email address, and phone number, or call (605) 610-0665.