When Maria Amestoy stands before the assembled supporters of Dress for Success Vancouver at IMPACT - An Event for Change, she’ll thank them for choosing her to represent the work of Dress for Success Vancouver, but she won’t tell them the story of how she got this far. Lucia Crosson, Program Manager, says that Maria was chosen because she was always willing to support the organization even when her own situation was far from easy. “And Maria never thinks that her story is all that important,” she comments. But it’s a story worth telling because it is one of overcoming violence, trauma, dislocation and heartache through the power of community, education and empathy—and a smart suit.
Maria still remembers how wonderful it was when Dress for Success Vancouver helped her to look her best when accepting the Community Entrepreneur Award from Embers, a Downtown Eastside association. “They did my make up and found a great outfit for me,” she recalls. She first became aware of Dress for Success Vancouver through Brenda Crump, an employment support worker with the New Start Program for Women. “She really encouraged me to go, it was really because of her that I found the organization.” And that changed everything.
Aside from helping her with wardrobe, a volunteer from Dress for Success' Career Centre assisted with her resume and taught her how to put her best foot forward during an interview. “We did role playing, and that was really good,” she says. “Dress for Success doesn’t just help you to look better, they help you to feel better because what they do is to offer human validation. There is a huge difference between walking alone and having someone walk beside you,” she says. “With Dress for Success, I experienced that healing sense of belonging that we all need to feel safe and appreciated as human beings.”
To hear more about Maria's story, join us at IMPACT: An Event for Change on Thursday, March 7th and experience for yourself the power of your contribution.