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March 1, 2012

The Impact of SFBFS' Clothing Program

I love my job, I love what I do, I love SFBFS’ Clothing program. Each day I am privileged to create a shopping experience for very special people. SFBFS shoppers vary in age, ethnicity and skills. There is a wide range of circumstances that bring them to the organization; divorce, domestic violence, illness or just a need to find a way to cope with the persistent challenge of poverty and unemployment.

With the job market far more competitive, the face of clients we see is changing. We see people who have always had a job and some who never needed one. It could be a woman who lost her home and possessions and needs clothing to look for a job or a struggling husband and father who has been searching for work for months after being laid off. With so many overqualified people applying for jobs they previously wouldn’t have considered, low income individuals are pushed into even lower paying positions. I can tell you without a doubt that the Clothing program is delivering the right services at the right time. Job hunting can cause plenty of stress even under the best of circumstances.

The Clothing program provides the initial, vital first step of support of proper attire needed to succeed in finding employment. Some of our clients don’t see themselves as worthy of finding a job. They need people around them who believe in them. Some have no idea how to dress for an interview; others have the sophistication, but not the means. The last thing to worry about during a job search is whether one’s appearance (clothing) will prevent them from being seriously considered for employment. The Clothing program believes in alleviating the burden of finding something to wear to an interview. We help our clients overcome this significant barrier to employment.

The men and women who are outfitted are assisted with choosing the right accessories to complement their look. We take them under our wing and lead them in the right direction. We try to provide a complete outfit including shoes, jewelry and a handbag. We aim to ensure that individuals in need have the professional attire along with some interview coaching to help them make the right impression. The importance of making a good first impression is stressed.

I understand the necessity and importance for our programs to demonstrate progress in achieving outcomes for clients. We must produce tangible outcomes to demonstrate success. Many outcomes are not easily captured or defined, but I can see success in multiple levels. I can see a glimmer of hope. I can see happiness, confidence and progress. When you see a person transforming right before your eyes – a transformation from the inside out - a person who keeps working to break from the cycle of poverty – a person who can walk into a job interview dressed appropriately and brimming with confidence – a person assisted by SFBFS - that is a picture of what I think success looks like.

I love my job, I love what I do, I love SFBFS’ Clothing program!!!

Submitted by Tasha Bryant, Clothing Program Manager

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