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Making It Fashionable To Volunteer

non profit, southern california, jerri rosen, men's wearhouse, working wardrobes, job search, orange county, volunteer opportunities, cabinets, furniture, wardrobe, fashion, suit, clothing, jerri, plentiful, example, cal, volunteering, during Your contribution to the world matters.  There. I’ve said it.  Something you probably needed to hear.  Especially as we approach the upcoming holidays.

You should volunteer during job search.  It’s a good idea.  As are other methods of giving back.

You can take a productive day off any time you want during job search to help someone else.  You don’t even have to ask permission.  Just do it.

And if you have a longer time horizon in mind, there are great opportunities to volunteer as part of a pro bono consulting team via Taproot and their great organization.

But today I have another idea in mind for you.  This is a local Orange County, CA organization you can sink your teeth into.  Shared here as an example of great works happening in the local community.  So since most of you don’t live in Southern California, this is here to push you.  To get involved as a volunteer.  Somewhere in yours.

Jerri Rosen, working wardrobes, volunteer, job search, non-profit, donateI’d like to introduce you to Working Wardrobes.  An organization that seeks to transform lives by providing a new start to at-risk men, women and young adults to help them attain dignity and self-sufficiency.

Jerri Rosen is the inspirational founder of Working Wardrobes.  She started what she calls an “accidental non-profit” in 1991 and the organization is preparing to celebrate its 20th year.  In those 20 years, they have helped to transform the lives of 50,000 people.  She is energetic, upbeat and apparently hard to say no to.  And judging by her engaged staff and board of directors,  she is a great leader as well.

Job search is tough enough today.  Imagine trying to do it without a nice suit.  A haircut.  Or the knowledge of how to conduct yourself in an interview.  Or having come off an especially difficult time in your life.  Not just a bump in the road but a lack of a road altogether.  Resulting in a significant lack of confidence.

I was introduced to Working Wardrobes by a smart (and fashionable) guy named John Kikuchi, an apparel and consumer design expert who came to a panel presentation of mine a few months back.  He is a volunteer at Working Wardrobes while he looks for his next great role (Contact John).  And thought I’d like to meet the organization’s founder.

My first full exposure was attending their 2010 Men’s Day Of Self Esteem (they have similar days for women and teens) where, in a full day, they transformed men to gentlemen.  From their former selves to a motivated, well dressed and confident person.  The day was full of change and ended with a fashion show where a few gentlemen were able to show off their new look.

How dramatic were the changes?  See the great examples below.

working wardrobes, job search, transition, before, after, dress, success

If you’d like to support Jerri and her team, here are some ways to do that:

  1. Offer your IT, advertising, marketing, social media or other professional skills to help them grow.  I am!
  2. Donate $ to support a fund to buy rotating racks (like at the dry cleaners).  To help them organize all the suits, blouses, etc. that are are prepped for their clients.
  3. Work for an apparel, clothing or other company that might be able to help?  They especially need dress shoes for men and plus size clothing.
  4. Shop at one of their local Orange County resale boutiques (very nice quality at bargain prices).  You can find locations on their website.
  5. For a simple $20 donation, you can help Jerri celebrate her team’s 20th anniversary.  A dollar for each year to help those in need.

One of their longest running supporters is The Men’s Wearhouse.  They’ve been involved for nearly 13 years and are famous for their charitable donations including their national suit drive they run every year (this year they collected 20.276 suits at their retail locations).  I spoke with Julie Towne, Director of Corporate Giving for TMW.  According to Julie, “helping men to get back on track and succeed in life is important” to her company.  Men are not always the first to be supported with so many organizations out there funding initiatives for women and children.   “This is a cause we’re passionate about.”  Being involved in transforming lives at Working Wardrobes makes good sense.

To follow Working Wardrobes and see their story continue to unfold, follow @WorkingWardrobe on Twitter and “like” their page on Facebook.

What is the “Working Wardrobes” organization in your community?  Feel free to leave a comment to highlight an organization you think needs a little love . . .

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Work and Life

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