Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Style

by: Aly Quiroz-Perez, Program Associate

Last week Bill and I visited Wardrobe for Opportunity, a nonprofit organization in Downtown Oakland that seeks to empower job seekers by giving them a makeover, thus raising their confidence to take on the responsibilities of their new profession.

Darice Jones, the Executive Director, and Julia Springer, the Development Associate, gave us a tour of their office. Right away I noticed the enormous selection of clothing. The items that Wardrobe for Opportunity has in their inventory have been donated from clothing companies and the community. It felt like being in a typical department store. There were suits, dresses, shoes, socks, skirts, blouses, ties, and even jewelry.

Wardrobe for Opportunity works with a diverse population, including clients as young as 15 years old. The population they serve consists of individuals who are struggling to make ends meet, are homeless, are coming out of prison, or have simply reached job readiness and are looking for support to take the next steps to secure employment.

When a new client arrives at Wardrobe for Opportunity for their one-hour appointment they are greeted with respect. A trained volunteer with an eye for fashion helps the client put together on average three outfits that are appropriate for an interview. After the client secures employment, they are invited to come back to put together a week’s worth of clothing.

Aside from helping clients to select professional attire, Wardrobe for Opportunity offers several programs that provide extra support for professional and personal development. For example, the Pathways program aims to help clients develop and strengthen their communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork skills.

Wardrobe for Opportunity is an outstanding nonprofit because it helps clients to gain and keep their employment, thus setting them up for success and breaking the cycle of poverty that many find themselves in. It is with great pleasure that PVF awarded this nonprofit a grant for general support.

If you would like to learn more about Wardrobe for Opportunity, please visit their website for more information: www.wardrobe.org

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