A nonprofit organization aimed at helping women attain self sufficiency is expected to open in Odessa during the next couple of months.
Dress for Success is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the tools to help them thrive in work and life, information from the organization said.
Executive Director Emily Weinberg said her organization will help women who might be coming from homeless shelters, Crisis Center of West Texas, Safe Place and Workforce Solutions of the Permian Basin, among other agencies.
“If they get a job interview, they can be referred by one of these other agencies to come to Dress for Success for a suit. Then if they get the job, they can come back for a week’s worth of clothing,” Weinberg said.
She added that Dress for Success will provide other resources such as laptops and training once it gets added funding.
Dress for Success Permian Basin-Texas is the 153rd affiliate of the agency, Weinberg said. It is in 30 countries around the world.
Weinberg, who previously owned Jersey Girl Pizza, was familiar with Dress for Success from when she lived in Providence, R.I., and there was one nearby in New Bedford, Mass.
She added that she wanted to do something service oriented.
“… I always had it in the back of my head to serve the community in some way. I recently was at the Small Business Development Center through UTPB. I just resigned from there so I could concentrate on this full time,” Weinberg said.
She and her husband moved to Odessa after her husband got a post teaching English at UTPB.
Weinberg said the agencies she’s spoken to said it would be good to have an organization like Dress for Success in the area.
She added that there will be a manual for volunteers and clients regarding eligibility for the service.
So far, Weinberg has received donations from about five women, but she still needs, shoes, accessories and hand bags.
“We’re definitely going to need monetary donations from individuals, corporations and foundations,” she said.
There may be times when Dress for Success has to buy items for clients.
All Dress for Success affiliates are independent. Dress for Success Worldwide is headquartered in New York.
“They’re a really good resource center. Sometimes they get donations from manufacturers like people who are located there. … Vanity Fair donated a lot of bras. I’m getting like 150 … sent to me. That will be helpful. That’s one thing women do need,” Weinberg said.
“We are currently accepting all gently used and new professional attire,” Weinberg said.
She added that donations currently are being taken by appointment, or she can pick them up.
People may contact her by phone at 432-770-8907 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There also is a drop-off spot at Talbots in Midland at 2300 W. Loop 250 North. Its phone number is 432-570-7090.
Talbots is a corporate sponsor of Dress for Success, Weinberg said.
Weinberg also will be seeking volunteers to be image consultants, grant writers, sorters and ironers.
She hopes to open her location at the Summit Building, 5050 E. University Blvd., Suite 7, at the end of July or early August.
Karen Hildebrand, executive director of Crisis Center of West Texas, said they are thrilled to have Dress for Success Permian Basin-Texas coming on line.
“They not only provide clothing for them to go and look professional for a job interview, they’ll also help with other referrals” and help them with their resumes, Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand said Crisis Center has clothing available and case managers who can help women with job searches and resumes.
“But they don’t have the expertise like Emily’s organization will have. Having that available will be really helpful to our clients,” Hildebrand said.