Through workFirst Patience O'Briant, 19, has already learned the important basics of holding a job: attendance, punctuality and appropriate dress.
Now, workFirst, which provides training and placement services for people with disabilities, will prepare O'Briant for a future job.
The nonprofit, based in East Baltimore, holds its first benefit tomorrow in conjunction with the opening night of Harbor Court Hotel's annual Celebration of Food and Wine event which features a silent auction, "tasting extravaganza" and an opportunity to meet chefs and wine makers. (Tickets are $125. For more information, call 410-234-0550.)
O'Briant, one of the nonprofit's shining stars, is eager to get a job. The northeast Baltimore resident will have that much more spending money for her favorite hangout: Eastpoint Mall, where she frequents Rave and Rainbow -- for bright, fun clothes -- and both Payless shoe stores for her towering footwear.
O'Briant, petite, with gorgeous, jet-black hair, loves outrageous and flashy colors. Told she's a trendy young woman, she replies: "You got that right."
What is your feeling about clothes?
I'm a clothes horse!
What kind do you gravitate toward?
I like cut-off sweaters and pants. And fancy shoes. I'm wearing platform sandals right now.
Can you wear those all day?
Yes, I can.
Do you have anything really fancy for special occasions?
My prom dress I bought at a bridal shop.
With your new income, do you have your heart set on any one particular item?
A Winnie the Pooh jacket at Rainbow. I've got everything "Winnie the Pooh," clothes, socks and slippers.
Will you wait for a sale?
No, I won't.
You must have a lot of friends at the mall.
Everybody knows me there.
Do you buy any other kinds of shoes?
Timberland at the Foot Locker.
Do you admire the style of any particular star?
I like how the rap singer Da'Brat dresses, with her baggy pants and cut-off T-shirts, and how Jada Pinkett Smith dresses.
How do you decide what to wear every day?
I look in the closet and make a decision.
Do you shop with your mother?
She picks out stuff I don't like. She brought me a dress with bows that's like a little girl dress.
Your closet must be full of stuff. Do you ever clean it out?
I keep it all.
Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.