Dress for Success, Boise Valley, was started 20 years ago and was one of the first affiliates worldwide. On a yearly basis, they serve around 350-400 women. The organization is solely for women who are in a situation where they're trying to get back on their feet by finding employment. In many cases, it’s because they’ve recently been unemployed or in shelters, or they may have been incarcerated. Dress for Success is a tool to help women get back out there with confidence and find meaningful employment.
“When a woman walks in our doors, the first thing we do is we offer a bottle of water; we try to make her feel like she's stepping into a high-end boutique, which is like an experience that a lot of these women have never felt," Executive Director Rachel Flichel says. "We want their first impression to be amazing for the potential employer as well as feeling valued and special. We have stylists that will work with our clients while they're here providing anything that they need from the outfit to undergarments, makeup, jewelry, a handbag, pretty much anything that you would need to go out and your best self forward in your interview.”
To aide the resource center, they rely heavily on donations in both monetary gifts and goods. They are in search of professional attire, specifically suits and suit jackets, that is new or gently used and is no older than 3-5 years. They are also happy to receive brand new undergarments and new makeup that are in neutral colors. The boutique is also thrilled to receive other professional attire that will help outfit these women once they have landed the job.
“So, once a woman gets the job, she can come back in and fill a bag full of work clothing," Rachel says. "So then, she actually has clothes to go to her new job because a lot of the struggle, again, is that now they've got to go to work now, what will they wear? So frequently, they stop going because they're embarrassed. They feel like people are looking at them. It's all that stuff all over again. So we provide them with the outfits and the clothing even beyond the suit.”
With her vision of being accessible to as many women in the Treasure Valley as possible, Rachel acquired a fashion truck that they are able to stock with everything they need to supply women at shelters who might not be able to access the resource otherwise.
“I am so blessed with a lot of volunteers; once they've started being a volunteer, they never leave," Rachel adds. "We have very little turnover. I currently have 36 volunteers and I would say since I took over six and a half years ago, probably 30 of them are still the original ones that came on with me. So it's a very special volunteer position. We call them personal stylists, so they're the ones that actually work with the ladies when they come in. We don't let the ladies shop for themselves. Again, we want that high-end boutique experience where we're personally picking things for them, for their body type and style just to ensure they receive the best possible service.”
At Dress for Success, everything is free of charge to the women that they serve, which is priceless when you consider the amount of hope they provide.
Rachel offers this final thought, “We have a picture of a woman in a suit jacket, and you don't see her head. You just see her in a jacket, and it says, "To many, this is just a suit; to others, it's a life jacket.'"
1. Book it Forward! Idaho
A joint initiative of Idaho Voices for Children and The Cabin, we are dedicated to increasing access to books for children. We collect new and gently-used books and get them to kids who have little-to-no access to books at home. Kids are learning to read up through third grade, and after that, they are reading to learn. Reading proficiently at the end of third grade is the single most important factor for success in school and in life. Having too few books for kids in low-income homes is a barrier to developing their reading proficiency.
2. Ronald McDonald House Charities-Boise
When a child faces a medical crisis, what they need most is their family. At Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho, we are helping families face the burden of their children’s illness together. They have enough worries attending to the complicated medical needs of their child, maintaining their jobs, caring for other children or family members and keeping up with medical and out-of-pocket expenses—at RMHC of Idaho, we care for the family so they can focus on their sick child.
To help even more families of sick children, we’re building a new Ronald McDonald House in Boise. The new House is slated to open in February of 2020 and will be more than three times the size of the current House. We need you to help us reach the finish and make room for every family with a sick child.
3. Family Advocates
Safe Kids. Strong Families. Brave Volunteers. Family Advocates works to strengthen families and keep kids safe by empowering everyday people to protect and enrich the lives of youth. We are fortunate to partner with hundreds of volunteers and many businesses to make sure that Idaho families have the resources they need. Contact us to join our family today!
4. Camp HODIA
Camp Hodia is Idaho’s only residential camp for kids with diabetes. Camp Hodia is fun and offers kids the opportunity to share common experiences, meet others with diabetes and form meaningful friendships. For many campers, this is their first time away from home. Our programs strive to foster self-esteem and self-reliance in a safe, healthy environment.
5. JEM Friends
One in three youth experience being homeless within 18 months of aging out every year, and 20,000 youth age out of foster care in the United States. We provide a program to help youth aging out of foster care as they navigate their transition to independence. You can become a JEMfriend, someone who partners with JEMfriends’ work and vision, in various ways. We greatly appreciate prayer support, financial giving and specific giving to meet program needs. We also depend on the many hours volunteers give in areas such as mentoring, providing transportation, accomplishing office work and preparing for and staffing events.”
6. Women’s & Children’s Alliance (WCA)
For more than 30 years, the Women’s and Children’s Alliance (WCA) has been at the forefront of providing services to women, men and their children healing from domestic abuse and sexual assault. Since its founding, the WCA’s crisis program has evolved into one of the most vital, unduplicated, comprehensive programs in our community and region. The WCA is proud to be a community leader in providing these critically needed services. We’ve been an important community partner for more than 30 years, and providing safe places for women to live has always been at the core of our mission.”