Dressing For Success

This political season both Democrats and Republicans have talked a lot about change and helping those on the lower end of the ladder. Bill Stamps tells us about a business that's been effectively helping the needy for years, and without a dime of taxpayer money.
It's Friday night and Dress for Success Houston is having a gala dinner celebrating ten years of helping women start a career. They do it by giving women business suits to wear to an interview. There are people dancing and having a good time knowing the money they raise will help people like Carol Grant, who was out of work and needed a job back in 2001.

Carol Grant : "They didn't get the job for me I still had to search and get the job."

While the suit helped her get a job. Carol says Dress for Success helped her in other areas as well.

"It's more than what you see on the outer side. They dress you on the inner side. They make you to be a leader. A role model, Crystal Webster, had just had a baby and was fresh out of college when she went to an interview wearing the wrong clothing."

"It was actually what I thought to be interview attire, but the gentleman at the interview told me 'well, you don't have on a jacket and you're not presentable unless you wear a jacket'. Well, I actually had on slacks and what a woman would wear — you know, a blouse."

Crystal didn't have the money for a suit. And when dress for success helped her out she landed a job the next week. Now she works for Congressman Al Green.

The business office and storeroom has been busy since Hurricane Ike, but Dress for Success founder Nancy Levicki believes the work they do is transforming entire families.

"If a child grows up seeing their mother work, the majority of the time the most important influence on a child is their mother and for us 96 percent of our clients are single moms. And so when you look at the impact that has on the Houston community, it becomes even more significant."

They raised a record 430-thousand dollars at their celebration dinner. And whether you were a donor or on the receiving end, that was a reason to dance.

Bill Stamps. KUHF Houston Public Radio News.