Dress for success

KCR: Heart and Soul volunteers empower women locally

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Dress for Success is a global not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to almost 150 cities in 25 countries and has helped more than 1.2 million women work towards self-sufficiency. A local affiliate was started in Kelowna in 2019 and has already helped over 150 women with professional attire who are entering, re-entering or adapting within the workforce. They have helped clients from ages 16-65.

“Two things that people may not know is that we are more than just simply an outfit,” explains Dominique Lennox, Dress for Success Kelowna program director. “We also offer career services, and a Professional Women’s Group to furnish women with confidence that she can carry forever and the knowledge that she can actively define her life and what success means to her.”

As a young local organization, they rely on a lot of volunteer support to achieve their mission and have a myriad of opportunities available.

“We are looking for short, medium, and long term volunteer commitments,” lists Dominique. “We offer a flexible schedule in-person and on-line. We are currently looking for boutique volunteers to help with client dressings, volunteers who can help with career services (resume building, job searching, interview prep, and seeking job shadow opportunities) and to help on our following committees: sponsorship, grant writing, fundraising, and event planning.”

“We are also looking for mentors for our Professional Women’s Group,” adds Dominique. “This requires a six months to a year long commitment. Plus, we are seeking a Treasurer with a CPA to take on a board position.”

“Our extensive network of volunteers allows Dress for Success Kelowna to deliver our services and programming with such passionate efficiency,” Dominique explains enthusiastically. “We are very much a volunteer driven organization with the people of our community who donate their time every year. We would be unable to fulfill our mission – and serve as many women – without the support of such dedicated and extraordinary volunteers.”

The pandemic has resulted in some client services being offered online but because of the shifts in work force, their services may now be more critical than ever. According to the World Economic Forum, the pandemic has had a massive impact on the gender gap in employment and disproportionately affected women. Dress for Success may be able to help women address this situation.

“We provide a supportive network of like-minded women to come together in the common goal of helping the women of our community to achieve economic independence,” explains Dominique. “This includes a great networking system and a supportive shoulder to lean on.”

“We still have our three core volunteers that have been with us since inception who are the heart and soul of our boutique and who we are forever grateful for,” says Dominique. “If you would like to join our program, connect with us through the Volunteer Connector at www.kcr.ca or contact me directly at Dominique@dfskelowna.org.”

Check out their organization online at Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/dfskelowna/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dressforsuccesskelowna/?hl=en or website www.dfskelowna.org.

Dorothee Birker is the communications and development coordinator for KCR Community Resources. If you are interested in sharing your volunteer or organizational news, please contact Dorothee at dorothee@kcr.ca.

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