Thursday, December 15, 2011

H.O.W. for Christmas - Day 11

Having a network of support, while job hunting, is a necessity but often undervalued. Coming to Dress for Success Vancouver may not just be for those who are seeking out clothing for an interview, but could be so much more.

What's so Great About Dress for Success Vancouver?
When I was looking for work about five years ago I decided the process would go better if I was to get out of the house and connect with others in the same situation. I signed up for one of the government sponsored 'Job Search' programs and that is where the journey began.

I had entered this job search with little social network, most of my close friends no longer in Vancouver, and my professional network was very small. At the time I did not realize what a important factor in job search your network is.

I landed in a group of very motivated and skilled job seekers, with a wonderful program facilitator that made the daily workshops a pleasure to participate in. It was at these workshops that I first heard about Dress for Success. One of the ladies in my job search group had been approached to join the DFS program, feeling a little shy she wanted someone to come with her when she went to check it out.

She knew of my love for shoes and told me that you can get free clothes, even shoes! And it was all part of a 18 month professional developmentprogram. OK, I would go see what this is all about, it was the professional development that got my attention.

We met at the downtown Vancouver DFS headquarters where we were told aboutthe program, and when the next intake was. My first DFS experience was to meet with a personal shopper, who would guide me through selecting an interview appropriate outfit, 'my first suit'! Once I was back in the workforce I would start the professional development program, one meeting a month for 18 months.

Every meeting we would have a different speaker on a different professional development topic. Some of the people I worked with attended similar workshops by the same speakers, I think I had a better deal, because with DFS I got to practice and follow up on what I learned at these events. As the time progressed I made connections with many others in the group, we all wanted to make improvements in our lives and be self sufficient.

The best part and the most important part of the DFS program for me is the network of positive people. The network of both professional and personal relationships I have built with the Dress for Success team, organizers, members, and volunteers have had the most amazing impact on my life. When the 18 month program was complete, I felt very strongly that it was important to keep those new relationships strong by continuing to meet with the group. There were other members of the DFS group who felt the same, so we started a more formal DFS Alumni group. We are now in the 3rd year of Alumni with regular meetings that follow a very similar format as the regular PWG meetings. With the PWG Alumni we practice our self sufficiency by taking on the roles and tasks required to run the meetings,including being our own speakers.

Dress for Success is a great organization that gives you a foundation to grown on and a supportive network to build your confidence. Every member of DFS has a different story, a different challenge, but we all have very similar out comes; More confidence, better networks, and happier lives.
- H.H.

In the month of December, we will be sharing the stories, experiences and triumphs of clients who have used our programing. And during these 25 days (December 5 - 31), we are campaigning to raise enough funds to put at least 25 more women through our programming.

To give one women access to the whole suite of programs at Dress for Success Vancouver, it costs the organization approximately $150 ($12.50 a month). Help us raise $3750 by donating this holiday season or giving the gift of a donation.

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