Organization Helps Women Achieve Self-sufficiency by Providing Them With Professional Attire
Many women face obstacles when looking for employment. An unfortunate, but all-too-common barrier for low-income women is a lack of professional attire to wear to interviews and jobs. Improperly fitting clothes, extremely dated outfits and otherwise nonprofessional options can result in an inability to get hired, regardless of qualifications or determination.
For more than two decades, Suited for Success Inc. has been helping women to look and feel professional when entering the work force. Here, Susan Walton, founder and executive director with SFS, shares how their organization functions and how Cleveland County Lifestyle readers can help them succeed.
Could you give a brief history of your organization?
I founded Suited for Success, Inc., a nonprofit organization, in 1995. I knew I wanted to start a clothes closet for women in need after being inspired by a news program featuring a similar organization in Chicago. But before I could move forward with Suited for Success, I was severely injured in the Oklahoma City Murrah Building bombing. I spent the next two years recovering from injuries before I was able to serve my first client. Suited for Success has provided more than 9,900 women with business attire for their job search.
What is your mission?
“Helping women achieve self-sufficiency” is our mission, and we accomplish this by providing economically disadvantaged women with interview- and work-appropriate clothing at no cost to them.
Clients come to SFS from a variety of situations, but all the women we serve have one commonality–they lack the tools to become employable. When a client walks through the doors of Suited for Success, they find an atmosphere of encouragement and a helpful staff who works with each woman to select appropriate clothing based on her own style and color preferences. Each client receives two complete outfits on their initial visit and, after obtaining employment, are provided with two additional outfits. Our staff members give their undivided attention to the women they serve and work very hard to create an enjoyable experience, free from the stress and problems many clients face. At the end of their appointment, clients feel more self-confident and have the tools they need to be successful in securing employment.
Suited for Success works with over 75 job training and job readiness schools, nonprofit organizations and government agencies in central Oklahoma to enable women to become self-sustaining.
What areas do you serve?
We serve central Oklahoma from El Reno to Shawnee and Norman to Edmond. We will be moving in the near future to 4557 NW 23rd.
What unique needs does your organization face?
We are always in need of clothing and outerwear in sizes 0-4 and plus sizes 16 and up. We also need larger size and wider width shoes.
Do you hold any fundraisers?
· Designer Handbag Bingo, 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, at the LISZT, North Park Mall. Admission $35
· Power Lunch, Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Renaissance Waterford
· Purple Friday, February 2020
What can readers do to help your organization?
In addition to clothing donations, we welcome financial donations to help offset the cost of items our clients need that are not readily donated. Suited for Success has several volunteer opportunities available and we encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering to contact us at 521.1089.
Suited for Success
4149 Highline Blvd., Suite 370
Oklahoma City, OK 73108
Telephone: (405) 521.1089
“Your organization not only provided clothing, but it provided a boost of confidence for me. When I left, I held my head a little higher.” – Jennifer M.
“Thanks to your program, I can now take care of my children without help. I have been working for over a year in the same job. I could not have done this without Suited for Success.” – Michele V.
“With my new skills and dress for success clothes, I feel confident in walking into a job interview.” Janet G.