Nonprofit helps women dress for success

NEIGHBORS

August 21, 2002|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

EVERYONE KNOWS how stressful it is to interview for a job. Imagine that you are a recent immigrant to the United States, a victim of domestic violence or a woman transitioning from welfare to work and the pressures of making a good impression at an interview multiply.

That's where Success In Style, a nonprofit organization that provides suits and business attire as well as interview coaching to women, comes to the rescue. Founded by Jeannette Kendall of Ellicott City, Success In Style has helped nearly 100 women prepare for the world of work since it began one year ago.

Success In Style will hold a benefit from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow at the home of west Columbia resident Margaret Williams, a member of the nonprofit's board of directors. Guests are invited to preview fashions from the Carlisle Collection. Light fare will be served.

Kendall was trained as a fashion designer at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and later worked in the garment industry. After relocating to this area 18 years ago, she became a fashion consultant.

She got involved with Elegance in Style, a nonprofit group that helps women to become informed consumers of fashion and streamline their wardrobes.

"Women were giving up their clothes, and we were trying to think what good can we do with this," Kendall said.

She had heard about a program called Dressed For Success in New York and decided to start a similar program here. Success In Style's trained fashion consultants provide clothing, accessories, hair and makeup instruction and interview coaching to help low-income women present themselves in a polished and professional manner for interviews.

Clients are referred by agencies such as the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network, Catholic Charities, Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center and the GED program at Howard Community College. Success In Style tries to provide clients with three outfits and a sense of self-confidence.

"We give them a whole consultation to help them know what's a good color for them and what's a good fit," Kendall said. "We give them all kinds of tips to help them understand what looks best on them and how to put it all together."

Success In Style accepts donations of new and gently used clothing. But Kendall said the organization's greatest need is for office space. The group's inventory, which includes nearly 2,000 pieces of clothing, is in Kendall's basement.

"In terms of clothing donations, we've been very successful at that," said Williams, who lives in Town Center. "What we need now is a facility."

Tickets for tomorrow's benefit cost $50.

Information: 410-750-6475.

Art house calls

Through its outreach program "Have Art; Will Travel," the Smithsonian American Art Museum has been sending a museum docent to the central library this summer to share some of the museum's collection. On Aug. 28, docent Anna DeKnight will bring slides of works that represent artists' interpretations of everyday American life.

"It's actually bringing the museum to the local area," said Elaine Johnson, assistant central librarian. "Because of Sept. 11, there are some people who have problems with going into Washington. This program actually brings art to your front door."

The program begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 28.

Registration: 410-313-7860.

Students aid students

The Arc of Howard County has recognized two Wilde Lake High School students who helped students with special needs become a part of the classes and activities at their school. The Arc of Howard County provides support and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Beth Nybord and David Schnorf were honored with the Students Helping Students award for their efforts to encourage a special needs student in his academic and athletic efforts at Wilde Lake High.

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