Archive for February, 2007

Make spring cleaning a labor of love

Monday, February 26th, 2007

As temperatures start to warm a little (at least temporarily), spring cleaning will start to move to the top of our “To Do” lists.  I’d like to offer a few ideas for getting rid of the items you clean out of your closet.  In the spirit of giving and welcoming our new columnist Bill Somerville’s “Simple Gifts”, here are some suggestions for organizations that would love to get your cast-offs.

Wardrobe for Opportunity (website) is an organization I am delighted and proud to be associated with.  Wardrobe is an Oakland and Pleasant Hill based non-profit that helps its clients, both men and women, to dress for interviews and subsequent hiring.  Their mission statement reads “Wardrobe for Opportunity is a volunteer-based, nonprofit organization that provides professional clothing and career support to low-income jobseekers so they can secure employment and become economically self-sufficient.”  Every month I show up for three hours to help dress clients.  Each time I leave, I feel happy, grateful and appreciative of the experience and thankful for the dedicated staff at WFO.  WFO also offers its clients a program called “Pathways to Opportunity” as additional training and preparation for their new jobs.   WFO is hosting a breakfast on Friday, March 16, 2007 from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. for donors, referral agencies and volunteers if you are interested in finding out more about Wardrobe for Opportunity.  I will be the keynote speaker, and will be talking about “de-mystifying business casual”.  All of the details can be found on their website.

A Miner Miracle (www.aminermiracle.org) is a San Francisco bases non-profit that also helps men & women dress for their entry or re-entry into the job market.  Miner Miracle has a retail store that is an additional source of revenue for this organization.  The shop is located at 899 Mission Street on the ground floor of the Mission & 5th St. garage right across from Bloomingdale’s.  In 1995, Kathy Miner founded A Miner Miracle after working with the Salvation Army on a similar pilot program.  A Miner Miracle also provides job skills workshops and additional education for its clients in order to prepare them for the current job market.

Dress for Success Worldwide (www.dressforsuccess.org) “is an international non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women located in 78 cities across the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and New Zealand. The professional clothing, employment retention programs and ongoing support that we provide our clients symbolize our faith in every woman’s ability to be self-sufficient and successful in her career.”  Dress for Success just opened a San Francisco affiliate in 2006.  Dress for Success serves women only and also offers job skills training as well as professional clothing.  They will be opening a retail store, as soon as a suitable space is found.  Since its founding in New York City in 1997, Dress for Success has served 300,000 women around the world.

Each of these wonderful organizations has guidelines for donations, but generally, all clothing should be dry cleaned, on hangers and in good condition.  Business casual clothing is also accepted.  Don’t forget that these organizations also need belts, shoes, handbags, ties, scarves, briefcases, overcoats and raincoats.  Each of them can provide a tax receipt and lets you determine the value of the donation.  Check their websites for donation locations around the bay area.  Of course, monetary donations are always welcome and appreciated!  If you are looking for some way to “give back” this spring, consider one of these amazing organizations!

For the “packing challenged”…  If you stress about packing, weeks before a trip, join AICI (Assn. of Image Consultants Int’l, www.aici.org) for their Travel Express: Tour with Style program.  It is being held at Bloomingdale’s in San Francisco on Tuesday, March 20th, 2007 from 6:30 – 9 p.m.  The program will include spring trends, great luggage options, and current FAA regulations.  Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served.  For tickets and information call Katherine Wurzburg at (650)949-3170.