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Success in Style seeking volunteers for new Annapolis Location

Andrea Blackstone | 9/2/2016, 9 a.m.
Ill-fitting borrowed clothing can distract a job seeker from putting their best foot forward, but the right outfit can make ...
Success in Style consultant, Karen Cropper reviews interview etiquette with a client from the Jobs Work Arundel program at the Glen Burnie Courthouse studio location.

Ill-fitting borrowed clothing can distract a job seeker from putting their best foot forward, but the right outfit can make a world of difference. Success in Style (SIS) is a nonprofit, which helps job seekers in Anne Arundel County to dress in style for job interviews free of charge.

All donated clothing that is not job interview appropriate is priced to sell to the public at retail shops, Phil’s Closet and Charity’s Closet in Historic Savage Mill, Maryland for $5.

Proceeds from the two retail stores plus the bridal resale shop, Cherie Amour, all benefit SIS. An additional donation center and resale venue, Charity’s Closet, is expected to open in mid-October in Annapolis.

SIS was founded by Jeannette Kendall, a fashion designer in 2002 and the nonprofit is primarily run by volunteers.

An information session will be held for potential individual and corporate volunteers, as well as organizations interested in partnering in the exciting new venture “Charity’s Closet” on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 in the Community Room at the Annapolis Regional Library, located at 1410 West Street in Annapolis from 11:15 a.m.- 12:45 p.m.

“Our mission is to help disadvantaged men and women [who] are trying to find employment to support their families by providing them with interview attire. People are referred to us from various government agencies, private nonprofits [and] educational institutions. They may be taking a class to learn something to improve their job [prospects] and our part is a very small part but very important. [They] to go on an interview and really don’t have interview appropriate clothing. All of our studios are outfitted with everything that a person would need to put together an interview outfit,” said Kathy Botsford, SIS’s outreach coordinator who became a volunteer with the organization after accidentally shopping at one of the resale stores. “We provide that at no cost to our clients, no matter what agency that they’re coming from.”

When job seekers need clothing, trained consultants help them to find suitable clothing. Separate outfits are provided to allow for several callbacks during the interview process. Donations come from stores or individuals who clean out their closets.

The prospect of moving Charity Closet’s from the Glen Burnie Mall to Annapolis arose last year.

“In the spring, we got a notice that there was a new landlord, and they were going to be renovating the mall and we would have to move,” Botsford said. “We had decided that we are going to relocate that donation center closer to where people might be interested in donating. We had a lot of people from Annapolis who said, ‘I’d love to donate, but gosh, Glen Burnie is a long way to drive, so Annapolis puts us [close] to volunteers and donations. We would just like to engage the community there.”

The services provided to clients is not limited by locality but Botsford explained that walk-ins are not accepted. Referrals for clothing help typically comes from come from job coaches and caseworkers. Botsford also says that the best outcomes for jobseekers come from working with people who are truly job ready. They have already connected

with an organization such as workforce development, Department of Social Services and other nonprofits. Some male clients even come from the VA (Veteran Affairs) Hospital inWashington, D.C.

Some people find their way to SIS through facilities in Baltimore County, Howard County and Anne Arundel County.

The MultiService Center located in the North Laurel/Savage community brings together multiple service agencies including SIS to offer easy access to a wide range of resources and support for community residents. Quinton Askew, the Center Manager in the Office of Community Partnerships, noted ways SIS benefits community members.

“Clients have been able to access professional attire, as well increase self-esteem with their new clothing,” Askew said. “Clients always rave of the assistance they have received from SIS staff, and the hope that is provided to them as they continue their journey of looking for employment, or seeking other business related activities.”

For more information about Success in Style and for updates about the organization’s new location in Annapolis, visit: www.successinstyle.com.