Here are the stories of some inspirational women we have worked with and their experiences at Wings:
When Brittany first visited Wings for Success, it was only an hour before a scheduled job interview with a law firm. She credits Wings with providing her not only with clothing appropriate for the interview but the confidence she needed going into it. The great news is that Brittany landed the job! The single mother of two toddlers has now moved into her own place. Regarding her experience with the volunteers she met at Wings for Success, Brittany remarks: “They’re the sweetest ladies you’ll ever meet!”
“Life tosses you obstacles,” observes Cassandra, “and Wings for Success helps you get back up.” The women Cassandra met at Wings for Success continued to build her up even when her own sense of trust was low. “They would say to me, ‘You will be successful’ and ‘You can do this.’” The women’s words and their sincerity had a powerful effect on Cassandra. Now with two jobs including one as a special education assistant in a Philadelphia high school, Cassandra is living proof of the power of positive reinforcement and support.
Tanya was a single mom cobbling together part-time jobs as she went through night school. As if that weren’t enough to juggle, she worked to lose more than 50 lbs at the same time. When Tanya landed an office job, none of her office clothes fit anymore. When she came to Wings, her volunteer dresser found Tanya had shed 50 lbs but not the low self-esteem that can come with being overweight. Dressing Tanya began a transformation into clothes to fit her new self, not just in size but also in pride. Tanya modeled her new outfits with pride when her daughter and mother came to pick her up and found “the new Tanya.”
When fire tore through Kate’s apartment building, it destroyed everything she owned. But she was not going to let it destroy her. Without insurance and two small children depending on her, Kate knew her first priority was to use her savings to rebuild a home for her children. And that this meant she would go without for a while.
So Kate went to work intermixing the same four pieces of clothing. That is, until the wonderful community outreach that helped Kate led her to Wings. Not only did Wings help Kate with new outfits, Kate felt special for the first time in a long time, while her volunteer fussed over her to make sure she had the best possible fit for her needs. Instead of feeling defeated by the fire, Kate cried tears of joy as she left Wings.
Nikki came to her Wings appointment in a bundle of nerves. A few weeks before, she left a brutal domestic situation with just her two young kids and the clothes on her back. But her biggest angst at the minute was uncertainty of what to expect at Wings while knowing she had an important interview that afternoon.
Her dedicated Wings volunteer put Nikki right at ease and began working on an interview first impression that would give Nikki every possible chance. Nikki got the whole package — suit, handbag, shoes, stockings, and underwear. And it wasn’t just any suit. Nikki left for her interview in a striking red suit that brightened her outlook and left her confident she really could make it on her own.
Nikki went on to land the job. While the scars of her past will take a long time to heal, and it may be years before she stops fearing her partner will find her, Nikki continues to move ahead with her life. After getting settled in her new position, Nikki used her newfound confidence and security to earn a scholarship at a local university. We at Wings are sure this is but one chapter in Nikki’s success story.
Dominique, proud mom of four-year old Jasmine, went to one of Wings’ referral partners looking for support as she finished an intensive outpatient recovery program and started to look for a job. After realizing Dominique needed help dressing for an interview and also workplace clothes, Dominique visited Wings.
Dominique not only got a new interview outfit and two pairs of shoes, she was asked to join the Wings Professional Makeover Day. Dominique was thrilled to have her hair styled, to get makeup tips, and to get accessories to complete her look.
Several interviews – and more shoes – later, Dominique celebrated her new job as a receptionist. Recently Dominique was made full-time, and she’s now looking for an apartment for herself and Jasmine. Her case manager from the Wings referral partner is also helping Dominique obtain her high school diploma. Her case manager says, Dominique “is such a great person. She’s picked herself up, and she’s moving forward.”
Annmarie knew her share of challenges before coming to Wings for Success. A single mom, she faced a drastic reduction in hours at the retail store where she worked, which ultimately caused her to lose her home. Through Friends Association in West Chester, Annmarie was referred to Wings For Success. “I was a little apprehensive going to Wings,” admitted Annmarie. “But everyone was so friendly and accommodating. They made me feel less self-conscious.”
Initially, Annmarie was a little skeptical about the clothes she was shown by her Wings for Success consultants as the outfits were much more professional than the casual dresses and slacks she was used to wearing. But the suit she ultimately chose and wore to her interview at a major department store greatly impressed her interviewer: “You’re what we want our associates to look like,” he said. Not only was Annmarie hired, she was given a full-time position rather than the part-time job she applied for.
On a second visit to Wings for Success, Annmarie received several career outfits to wear to her new job. The experience, she recounted, was a wonderful one. She appreciated that everyone was nice, nonjudgmental and honest about which outfits did and didn’t work for her.
“I’ve never had a lot of self confidence,” Annmarie confessed before adding: “But with these new outfits, I look at myself and I think: I do look good, don’t I?”