If you missed Jerri Rosen on today's show, you can hear our entire conversation here.
ABOUT WORKING WARDROBES
Twenty three years after it was conceived, Working Wardrobes is going strong and looking forward to many more years of ensuring great success for its clients. We are committed to helping men, women, veterans and young adults emerging from life crises re-enter the workforce with career development and wardrobe services.
In 1990, Jerri Rosen, now CEO, and five friends were disturbed by the growing statistics of domestic violence. The group set out on a mission to help those in need. Intending to last for only one year, they gathered clothing and accessories, stored them in Jerri’s office, and held the first-ever Day of Self-EsteemTM. Serving 67 women from six shelters, the event was a life-changing experience - the first effort of this kind in Orange County- and the foundation on which Working Wardrobes is based.
A few years later Jerri introduced an idea to expand the base of clients served by Working Wardrobes. Her idea was to help men, as well as women, reclaim their dignity and return to work. In 1997, a partnership with George Zimmer and the Men’s Wearhouse took Working Wardrobes to a new level with the introduction of a Men’s Day of Self-Esteem. Now women and men could receive a helping hand as they emerged from addiction recovery centers, prison re-entry services and CalWorks programs.
In 2000, Working Wardrobes expanded its client base again, this time reaching out to emancipating and at-risk youth. The goal was to encourage young adults along a positive educational and career path, helping them recognize and avoid the pitfalls that lead to unemployment and poverty. A separate Day of Self-Esteem was held, and an extensive series of life and career skills workshops were developed that included goal-setting, career coaching and presentation skills.
Two years later, a Cinderellas for Life event was added to the lineup to help young ladies from low-income families prepare for prom. After seeing the impact made in the young ladies lives, Working Wardrobes wanted to serve young men as well. In 2011, Working Wardrobes created Dream Girls and Distinguished Gentlemen to provide prom dresses and tuxedos, along with all of the necessary accessories, to young ladies and gentlemen from low-income families. The event also helps teens plan for the future with workshops on etiquette, self-esteem and goal setting. In addition to helping participating teens, Dream Girls and Distinguished Gentlemen provides a lifetime of memories for hundreds of volunteers. Remaining dresses are donated to female Marines and military wives so they can attend the annual U.S. Marine Corps Ball at Camp Pendleton.
Another inventive aspect of Working Wardrobes is its ability and resources to help veterans reintegrate back into civilian life. Although the organization has been serving veterans for eight years, in 2011 it expanded the scope of services it provides to veterans by creating VetNet, a safety net for veterans. From outreach to enrollment and through job training, placement and follow-up, VetNet uses an integrated case management approach to directly link clients to supportive services available through the partnerships.
Today, Working Wardrobes is located in Costa Mesa, California in a facility that houses its administrative offices, Career Center and Donation Center. With the expansion of services and support, Working Wardrobes helps 5,000 men and women re-enter the workforce each year. Days of Self-Esteem and Success Graduations for women and for men continue to be exciting annual events that draw hundreds of volunteers who often find many other ways to support the organization. The Career Center provides vital services on a daily basis. Here, clients receive access to a nationally-recognized customer service certification program, career and life-skills workshops, a full-service computer lab to post resumes, career assessments and online job searches, as well as access to wardrobe services. Working Wardrobes has also expanded its enterprise to include two upscale boutiques and two thrift shops. All of the proceeds from these stores benefit the clients served by Working Wardrobes and allow clients to get on the job customer service training.
Working Wardrobes owes much gratitude to the Board of Directors, The SMART Women giving circle, generous corporate and individual donors, and the thousands of volunteers that have made success possible.
A few of the corporations that have helped Working Wardrobes along the way are:
The Boeing Company
Cookie Lee Jewelry
Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP
Miss Professional Nail
Bonnie Toth Advertising and Desig
Working Wardrobes has made a difference in nearly 65,000 clients’ lives and many more thousands of volunteer lives and will continue to do so well into the future. The Career Center in Costa Mesa is open for tours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Please contact Megan Harless, VP Business Development at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a tour.
For more information, please visit www.workingwardrobes.org