Clothes That Work is a nonprofit organization providing professional clothing, image counseling and training for job seekers in the Miami Valley. Additionally, the organization conducts educational workshops to improve interview skills and appropriate professional behavior to meet employers’ expectations.
“Most of us don’t really think about it, but the greatest barrier to employment often can be an interview outfit,” says executive director Cindy Garner. “In 1998, a group of 13 local women realized they could help by providing clothing and coaching to help those in need get and keep a job.”
Since that time Clothes That Work has helped over 30,000 men, women and independent teens.
The organization started out as “women helping women.”
“In 2005, we also started serving men,” explains Garner. “Now men are 53 percent of the clients we serve. We are one of the few places that serves men in this way.”
Garner says clients are so appreciative for the care and service the volunteers provide. “It takes seven seconds to make an impression on a potential employer,” she notes. “A few years ago, one client attended a job fair for Fuyao. We provided an interview outfit and coaching tips for the interview process. There were 200 people in line the next day, but he had been coached, had confidence, looked great. So, they pulled him out of line and gave him an interview right away and he got the job! He asked, ‘Why me?’ They said it was because he was the only person who took the time and cared enough about the job to dress for it. That’s why we do what we do.”
The Clothes That Work Boutique
As a source of revenue, Clothes That Work also operates a lovely boutique open to the general public. Due to the pandemic, it currently has reduced hours and is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the second Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon. “Out of respect for our volunteers and staff as well as their own safety and health, we require that our customers wear masks in the Boutique and maintain a social distance from one another,” says Garner. “We have limited the number of customers shopping at one time to five within the store.”
All of the proceeds from merchandise sales in the Boutique go directly to assist clients.
Want to help forward the mission of Clothes That Work? Donate new or gently used interview appropriate clothing or other types of clothing for the Boutique.
Here’s what they need
- Plus-size women’s clothing
- Ladies shoes
- Ladies white blouses
- Men’s white dress shirts
- Men’s dress shoes
- Men’s suits
- Men’s white undershirts
- Solid black polos
- Solid colored scrubs
- Personal travel-size toiletries
For the Boutique
- Gently used or new designer clothing
- Vintage clothing, handbags, jewelry and other accessories in gently used condition also sell well in the Boutique and are always in demand.
Note that items should be clean and in good condition, not ripped, torn or stained. The organization does not need pajamas, bathrobes and housewares.
Clothes That Work is currently accepting clothing donations by appointment only. The organization and Boutique are located at 1133 S Edwin C Moses Blvd., Suite #392, Dayton, OH 45417. Call (937) 222-3778 or visit www.clothesthatwork.org.
Free parking is available at the Boutique entrance.
Other ways to help
Clothes That Work is driven by volunteers. As a result of the COVID pandemic, the organization lost many volunteers who were in higher-risk groups. “We need more volunteers to continue to make a difference in the lives of our clients and the Miami Valley Community,” says Garner.
Right now, the organization needs volunteers for many positions including client coaches, workshop facilitators, inventory managers and boutique sales. Anyone interested can visit the organization website – www.clothesthatwork.org – to learn more. Or go directly to the volunteer page link at www.clothesthatwork.org/can-help/volunteer-time/.
Other Ways To Help
Men at Work is an online competition featuring local businessmen and community leaders who are raising funds for Clothes That Work. Twenty-six role models share their stories and their professional image for three weeks as they campaign for votes. Each vote costs a $5 donation to Clothes That Work. You can vote at qtego.net/qlink/clothesthatwork
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Meredith Moss writes about nonprofit organizations in our area and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith: MMoss@coxohio.com
Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.
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