Helping disadvantaged Vt. women dress for success - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Helping disadvantaged Vt. women dress for success

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Jennifer Andrews has a job interview coming up and she wants to impress her potential boss, so she is trying on some new clothes.

"Yeah, it's fun. It's like shopping, but without the cost," she said. "Come in, pick clothes, a purse, toiletries if I need them."

At no cost, because Andrews was referred to Dress for Success Burlington. The international nonprofit program helps women achieve financial independence by providing professional clothing and counseling.

"I think at the end of the experience they feel really good and I think that is what we are trying to go for. We want women to walk out of here feeling really confident, not concerned about what they are wearing, and knowing that that is not going to be a distraction, at least during their job interview," said Harriet Williams of Dress for Success Burlington.

Dress for Success not only makes a big impact on their clients' lives, but the clothes can also impact the entire family.

"But I think for children who are watching, I think that is a really powerful statement to see someone in their family who maybe wasn't doing this before, to move from that to a place where they are able to take care of themselves and the rest of their family," Williams said.

All the clothes here have come from the community. Women have donated gently used items for the cause. Williams says it seems the entire community has pitched in to help.

"Most of our furniture was donated; most of our computer equipment was donated. So, it has been really great to connect with the Burlington community and see this really amazing outpouring of support," she said.

A number of volunteers help organize the donated clothes into sizes and styles. Several items are pulled for each client to try on and choose from.

"It's beneficial for me because without working, I can't really afford to go out and buy new clothes. In my case, most of my money goes to clothing my children. So, it's nice for me to get something for myself for a change," Andrews said.

When Andrews gets her new job, she can come back and pick up more clothes, enough to mix and match for at least an entire week.

Dress for Success Burlington has partnered with Women Helping Battered Women and Vermont Works For Women. The clients are referred through those agencies.

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