As a Board Member, I have had the opportunity to hear first hand how the services Suited for Change (SFC) offers impacted the lives of women it serves. Hearing directly from SFC clients about being outfitted with professional attire and how it makes them feel, plus receiving coaching to land the job, are truly remarkable. I am moved by their stories and their drive. SFC has helped to positively change the lives of so many women. I am so proud to be part of this amazing organization helping clients achieve financial independence.
I’m It was a awesome opportunity for me to get service from suited for exchange. I was giving nice professional business suites that made me feel reassured and proud to have nice clothes I could of never brought my self I was ready for a interview because of there staff I was able to meet with a great job coach on weekly basis to prepare me for upcoming interviews we were also able to work on elevator speeches I was provided a book full of job search tips on how to keep record of important information like my resume and my job searches suited for exchange really open doors of opportunity for me I’m ready to walk out into the real work world prepared all the way use the tips I was giving I’m still planning on gaining employment with the government it’s one of my dreams jobs I just finished my high school diploma at age of 43 and suited for exchange was one the tools I needed to connect my skills together to gain a great job I’m taking my time on getting a job Im so happy to provide a better life for me and my kids
Suited for Change is an altruistic force in the Washington Metropolitan Area. The Directors, staff, and volunteers all have such an amazing heart for the betterment of women who have experienced transitional circumstances such as homelessness, refugee status, addiction, domestic violence, etc., in order to support their successful re-entry into the workforce. The services are free of charge and provide interview- and job-ready attire, mentoring/coaching sessions, and a real boost in confidence and worth to those they serve. The donors should be heralded for their commitment to the vision because of their commitment and generosity.
H. Patricia Blackshire
August 25, 2021
Virtual Coach Volunteer and Supporter
There's one word that readily comes to mind when I think of Suited for Change ( "SFC"): Authentic
They say and do the things that they truly believe in.
The last year and a half has been a watershed moment for all of us. SFC continued to reach out and navigate a terrain that seemed, at the time, literally impossible.
During this time, a number of businesses had attached "closed" signs across their windows and doors. This organization does not take its mission,
lightly. However, over the last year, SFC went into overdrive. The results are now in. They found an incredible way to serve their vulnerable clients under the most daunting of circumstances.
This place is a sanctuary for women seeking opportunities in the business world. SFC offers a wealth of resources to help with furthering their
education, financial advice and personal support.
Upon arrival at the office of Suited for Change, they are given one-on-one service involving clothing, business "know how" and much more. This introductory period serves both clients and staff members well. The staffer gauges the needs and goals of the client. And shortly afterwards, they form a partnership of working together to help the client achieve their target of employment.
Our unwritten motto is: You Will Succeed
As a volunteer and supporter, I've been involved in the boutique sales, in-house stylist and now serve as a virtual coach. These duties are all intertwined in furthering the goals of SFC.
The dedicated staff members at Suited for Change and our unique clients have taught me a valuable lesson about the vicissitudes of life and how one can overcome anything with a transformative mindset.
I have been an eye-witness! Helping hands is who we are! There's no challenge too big for us. We
lead with a big heart, kindness and a willingness to serve our vulnerable clients from all walks of life.
H. Patricia Blackshire
Virtual Coach Volunteer 2020
Suited for Change
Suited for Change ("SFC") is an organization that serves a diversified group of women seeking employment in the surrounding D.C. Metropolitan area. It not only effectively aids, but also seeks to restore confidence and power to women, so they can fully realize their potential of reaching their desired goals. The women sometimes struggle with a multitude of issues, which causes them to basically survive on the margins of society for a substantial period of time. For many years, clients have overcome and transformed their lives through sheer determination and will. This is a powerful testament to the great leadership of the SFC organization, who serve with unceasing commitment, vision and tremendous hard work.
Initially, I started out as a volunteer stylist. I was clueless as to my own understanding of the journey I was about to undertake. I coordinated outfits to match a specific business culture for the clients. And, working closely with the clients, hearing their personal stories, allowed me to get to know the clients in an endearing way. At times, it felt like meeting old friends. To see them laugh and cry, connected me to our shared humanity in a way that was heartfelt and humbling. I have found my calling in life!
When a client from SFC seeks and gains employment, it is unimaginable joy for the client and the supportive team. So, I am very excited to be a part of this talented group; and, witnessing firsthand lives being changed dramatically. The world is a much better place when we lend a helping hand. Join our world! We are here for you.
I have volunteered for over 10 years as a suitor for Suited for Change. It is such a wonderful organization. Suited for Change gives women beautiful outfits, along with shoes, handbag, accessories for job interviews. Suited for Change coaches women regarding interview skills and resume building. The women we have suited are elated when finding the right outfit and their confidence soars. Many have come back for more clothing when they get a job. I am so happy to be a part of this outstanding organization.
Suited for Change is a wonderful organization that I have the honor and privilege to work with. They provide women in our community with sustainable skills and resources to achieve financial independence, which I believe is a rare but necessary accomplishment. I work directly on spreading the word about FREE career workshops that Suited for Change provides to their clients, which is just one example of the extremely helpful and accessible services that SFC provides for women in need. I am proud to work with them, and I hope that their work continues to be recognized as a vital contribution to uplifting women in our community.
I joined SFC as a volunteer during the height of the pandemic! I wanted to get involved and be a part of a non-profit where I felt I could make a difference.
I retired from government service in December of 2019 and because of my position, I was never in a position to volunteer nor did I have the time! Stepping through the doors of SFC was like coming home! The Director Liz Reinert and Program Manager Fernanda Parreira Menezes made me feel like family and I can honestly say, they made each client I suited feel the same way!
This organization goes above and beyond to ensure clients receive clothing for work, professional counseling, and training opportunities when the opportunity presents itself! I am soo happy to serve as a volunteer at SFC and I would highly recommend them!
Suited for Change is a wonderful nonprofit that truly cares about uplifting and empowering women! As a volunteer, I love seeing how a clients face lights up after being suited for an interview with work attire. The nonprofit does a phenomenal job providing clothing and mentoring sessions to ensure the client is prepared for their interview. Liz Reinert and Fernanda Parreira-Menezes truly believe in the organization and their mission! I am so happy to be a part of this amazing nonprofit! Althea
Great organization that really helps women land jobs that can change their lives. And it is so fun to $ free shop the boutique's collection.
When I retired after a 40 year career in public service, I was excited to channel my interest, energy. and time in a volunteer capacity. Through a simple Google search, I discovered the perfect opportunity to serve deserving women in the Washington, D.C. area. Although my career was in law and legislative work, I recalled that my first job as a high school junior was in fashion merchandising for a large department store... so my interest in apparel and accessories actually spans 5 decades! So since January 2018, most Mondays find me as a volunteer stylist at Suited for Change! The experience has changed my life in so many ways as I am able to help the most remarkable and resilient women in transition find professional attire as they embark on a path to an interview and ultimately a wonderful new job! For me, volunteering at Suited for Change provides the most humbling and heartwarming way to start each week! I encourage anyone interested to please consider joining me!
Suited for Change is a wonderful organization which helps women returning to the workforce to find suitable clothes. Having volunteered for many years before the pandemic, I was most impressed with how the staff managed to help clients during the period when the office could not be open. The staff and volunteers create a welcoming environment and all clients leave with appropriate clothing...and a big smile on their faces!
I have been a volunteer for quite a few years because it's so satisfying. I love helping clients find outfits that make them feel confident and professional for their interviews and jobs. SFC is very well organized due to the collective experience and insights of staff and other volunteers. It's such a pleasure to work with such good people, do something interesting and fun, and feel that I can make a real difference in someone's life.
I have been a donor to Suited for Change for over a decade and started serving on the Board about 8 years ago. I am proud of my association with this excellent organization, its staff, and volunteers. Although I do not suit clients, I have been a witness to many client testimonials after their suiting appointments with one of our volunteers. Their reaction and the obvious impact of their experience at Suited is emotional and inspirational for all concerned.
Most clients come to their first appointment with very low expectations. They expect to see a warehouse filled with piles of clothes and be pointed to a pile of their sizes to choose their outfit. Instead, they arrive at a beautifully organized boutique and are greeted by an experienced, even professional suitor who spends an hour with her, choosing an outfit that is suitable for the job she is seeking, and her personal taste. They work together to select matching shoes, handbag, and accessories. In addition, our volunteers connect with their clients at a personal level and help coach them in the job-seeking process.
The most powerful comments I have heard from clients are, "You cannot believe what this means!" or "Now, I know I can do that job!"
We know that dressing in smart and appropriate business attire is important when going for a job interview. But, the suits we provide our clients have a much greater impact than appearance. Being properly attired gives our clients a boost in self-confidence, thus greatly improving their performance in their interview.
Suited for Change transforms lives every single day. Every woman that passes through our doors leaves more confident and empowered, and has a greater chance to build financial success through (re)entry into the workforce. We are proud to be part of their success.
I am pleased to recommend Suited for Change to anyone looking for a volunteer opportunity in DC. Staff is very experienced, welcoming and most importantly committed to their mission of helping their clients with the upmost care & love. From the time I joined to today, it was clear to me that Suited for Change really made a different in people's lives. Their team is engaging with volunteers and an inspiration to me both personally and professionally. Good people all around!
Suited for Change is an exceptional nonprofit in DC. It provides interview appropriate clothing for women of all races and ages as well as assistance preparing for interviews so that women can go out from their job training program with confidence and pointers on how they can best market themselves. Managed by a small professional staff, many volunteers, and interns, it has a solid financial bases, is well run and continues to provide services during Covid to a reduced number of women. The atmosphere is friendly, sensitive to clients‘ needs, styles, and preferences. I have volunteered there for several years once a week and cherish my time with the wonderful women who come to Suited as part of their journey into the workplace.
I am so proud to be affiliated with Suited for Change. This is a true grassroots community organization that serves local women most in need of economic empowerment. By treating all clients with dignity and respect, by listening carefully to them, and by helping them get the tools that they need to enter the job market, they help women who have had the most difficult circumstances gain confidence to enter the workforce. There are over 100 volunteers who work to staff, manage and supply the boutique and assist clients. And the organization works with dozens of partner organizations to support the clients. It is small but mighty and makes a real difference to the women it serves.
I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering with Suited for Change since 2018.
The organization strives to provide quality services to local DC women, by providing them with professional attire and job readiness preparation.
This is also a great place to donate workplace clothing for those looking to put old suits, purses, shoes etc to good use.
Through community service work through our membership organization, I have had the pleasure of working with the Suited for Change team on fundraising efforts. With a limited staff and dedicated volunteers, they are able to do significant and impactful work for the professional community. During COVID, they were able to find ways to continue rendering service to their clients and raise money in creative ways by hosting their first ever virtual gala. Kudos to Liz and the entire SFC team!
Since my first volunteer shift in 2018, this organization has changed my life and those of its clients. It is an environment of no judgement, where everyone wants to empower women to believe in their abilities and their value as they enter the workforce. As a volunteer, it is an honor to spend time one-on-one with clients and learn about their style, what they are looking forward to, and if they are nervous about an upcoming job interview. Suiting clients isn't just about making sure they look the part, it's taking the time to remind them there is a network of women behind them ready to lend support and wisdom. You can see the confidence boost from just one "suiting session."
I am a long-time friend of Suited, having served as a Board member and volunteer for 6 years and now serve as a volunteer "suiter" working directly with clients. this organization is "lean and mean" relying very heavily on a tiny (2 people currently) paid staff and a small army of volunteers plus generous donors of clothing and funds to support its operation. It is incredibly efficient and most importantly effective in the delivery of services to low income women seeking to enter/re-enter the workplace.
Suited offers one-on-one appointments to outfit clients with work-appropriate attire as well as one-on-one coaching to help clients effectively navigate the interview and job on-boarding process. In a non-pandemic situation, Suited also provides group classes on workplace soft skills and healthy lifestyle/enrichment topics. Suited has been heroic in re-opening for limited in-person (as well as distance-based) client services at the earliest possible time in a safe, responsible manner. The suiting experience is uplifting for all involved - clients rave about the value of their experience at Suited in helping them be confident, effective interviewees and employees. A measure of Suited's success is its longevity, serving DC area women for over 25 years, and its roster of diverse, long-time as well as new, dedicated volunteers, some of whom have been involved for years, even decades.
Suited for Change is an altruistic nonprofit. The Board, Executives, and Staff are totally committed to helping women, who have had a rough time in society, to get back in the game. The volunteers are committed to ensuring that the ladies feel valued, are suited for interviews, and are afforded free Coaching Sessions that prepare them for phenomenal interviews. The women who have been suited are so appreciative of the support they have received. It brings joy to us volunteers to have played some small part in brightening their day.
If I could ZERO stars I would! I was sent here as a returning citizen upon arriving at a halfway house in DC. I tried on a purse, the tag fell on the floor, I picked up the tag and put it back on the purse, I got back to the halfway house and from then on was accused of switching tags. I didn't even buy a purse so what would be the point? I have never ever switched tags in my life let alone there. They were insistent and caused me to be judged by the halfway house thereafter. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NO ONE GOES HERE EVER! This is an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS PLACE FOR A RETURNING CITIZEN to go to, just being released into society and someone making an accusation like this is serious. Its heinous when they loosely making their assessment in such a situation. They insisted they saw me switch tags when all I did was pick the tag up off the floor and put it back on the purse, and walk away....again, never bought ANY purse! They claim to help people and this is what they do a a returning citizen living a fragile state of existence. This is a highly unscrupulous place! DONT GO!
Before I became a board member, I had been aware of Suited for Change and had made many clothing donations. What I did not know before I became a board member is that Suited for Change is about much more than just a suit. Although any client will tell you that the suits certainly make a difference, it is the total package of services, especially the professional and life skills development courses, provided by Suited that really help clients reach their career goals. Another fact that I did not know about Suited for Change is that it has served thousands of women with only two hard-working, dedicated staff people, which means that funding goes primarily toward client services. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not also mention our hard-working, dedicated volunteers! Suited for Changes could not make it without them.
I became involved with Suited For Change in 1995. I think it struck a chord with me because it serves women in the Washington, DC comunity who need a helping hand. I know that at one time in my life, I could easily have been a recipient of Suited For Change's services. I continue to be increasingly impressed with the results that are achieved by an incredibly dedicated and hardworking (small) staff and volunteers. I've seen the results - women who are confident, happy and vital members of the community. Suited For Change does much more than provide needed professional outfits. It provides training on work skills, interviewing skills, and skills that are needed after someone gets the job. That includes life skills like balancing a checkbook and managing a family budget. Suited For Change fills a vital need in the Washington, DC area. I'm proud to be a part of this organization.
I was empowered by the staff to regain control of my life, I was given more than a suit, the staff dressed me with love and self esteem so I could face corporate America and return to work and become a productive part of society, They helped me get suited for life's task and gave me the confidence I needed to land not one job but two jobs and attend college at night. Because I was in a welfare to work program i felt uneasy about my financial situation, it took a casemanager Rev. Brown to give me a referral to attend Suited for change, I didn't no what to expect but I got more than what I needed, I left their in "Pursuit of my Happiness" and I don't regret my wonderful experience, I believe in the organization so much I went from client to ambassador of Suited for change traveling the halls of the city council advocating for funding to ensure this organization continues to thrive and serve more women. I was their 15,000th client served. They say the clothes don't make the man but the suit sure made a difference in my day and how I felt going to a job interview. Suited in DC is Simply the best!
After learning about Suited for Change's boutique sales on a local dc blog, I decided to check it out. There was a fantastic selection of high quality and low priced professional wear and personable and helpful volunteers ready to assist me in finding the right clothing for me! As a recent college graduate, money is tight, and Suited for Change's boutique sale has helped me start my new professional wardrobe.
My famous last words whenever promoting Suited for Change are "They can't get rid of me"! That is the absolute truth. There was a dark period of my life whereas I had lost all hope for the present and the future. It was a monumental effort just to get off the couch and feed my cat. Suffering from back-to-back personal losses, I was unemployed, about to become homeless, and deeply depressed. Eventually, there was a shining light called "Suited for Change" that brought me out of that darkness and renewed my self-esteem. The first time I walked through their doors changed my life, for the better, forever. In participating in the many life skills workshops (resume writing, nutrition, interviewing techniques, etc.)that were conducted by volunteer professionals, I got back my sense of self, independence, a Federal Government job, and a new suit (with all the accessories)to boot! The workshops are specifically geared towards preparing a woman to enter the workforce fully equiped with the knowledge and tools she will need to succeed. And yes, I am a success! I developed a confidence that I never had before. The unselfish dedication of the staff and volunteers to the betterment of life for women, like me, who just may need a chance (or, sometimes, another chance), is remarkable. For this organization not to continue would be a great diservice to all the women who have yet to be reached. With that said, again I say, "They can't get rid of me!"
Sixteen years ago my family moved to the Washington DC area. In a new place, being a new mother and having no friends yet, I ventured to the Washington Convention Center to a trade show for women. Catching my eye was a booth sponsored by Suited For Change. After learning that SFC helps women from a variety of unfortunate circumstances get on their feet, I was sold and asked to become a volunteer. Dressing clients now for 15+ years, I have witnessed countless numbers of women come into our showroom looking hopeless and after a several minutes of working with a trained SFC volunteer, leave smiling with their shoulders thrown back and their head held high. We treat all our clients like the important people they are and offer them the encouragement they so desperately need. We begin by fitting our clients into interview appropriate clothing so that their very first impression is a positive one. We also discuss appropriate grooming, the need to be on time, and answer any other questions our clients may have. There is a checklist that we go through to ensure our client is ready for her interview. We also have a number of leaflets that our clients can take with them on many topics applicable to a job search as well as helpful hints for personal finance. Also personal development courses are offered as additional help. Once our client gets her job, she comes back to SFC for additional clothing for her job as well as enthusiastic support and congratulations for her accomplishment. Two particular women I helped stand out in recent memory. One was a diabetic who had run away from an abusive situation. She had cigarette burns all over her body. In order to come to SFC, unbeknown to us, she cancelled a doctors appointment to get treatment for her diabetes so she could make her already scheduled interview. It was more important to her to begin supporting her children whom she had taken with her when she left her situation. The second woman I remember is one who had been homeless for a number of years. It took a while to convince her to remove her long johns so she could see how she looked in the beautiful skirt suit she had on. Once she was finally convinced to take them off, she looked in a mirror and started crying. She could not believe that she could ever look this nice again. A bear hug came my way and we both cried and hugged for awhile. We volunteers take our responsibility seriously and gladly cheer our clients on to success. Thank you Suited For Change for being there. I have grown tremendously by being able to give back to so many others.
Learning computers is a piece of cake for our clients compared to walking into their first job interview. When you've been down-and-out for so long, how do you find the confidence in yourself... how do you find the respect for yourself... that a prospective employer expects? I have met with former and current clients, and it's always an experience that chokes me up. Women who are standing tall and proud, who feel good about themselves and are confident about the possibilities their life now holds... Women who said "I want more", and then went out and got it. What they say most often they got from Suited is not clothing - it's respect. Respect FROM the staff, and FOR themselves. We treat them as valued customers. And every woman finds what she needs, from petite to tall, large to small... no woman is sent home without work-appropriate clothes. Clients are assigned a 'personal shopper' who coaches them on styles and colors and what works for THEIR needs. They also learn about the "SOFT SKILLS" training Suited offers - for free - to all our clients, where women learn not just to write a resume, but how to handle a difficult boss; not just what clothing is appropriate, but how to create a houseold budget. There are so many things we all take for granted,and Suited knows that these women can't afford to take anything for granted. I joined the Board 5 years ago to provide a fresh pair of eyes with a background in procurement and IT. I've watched Suited overcome myriad challenges ranging from the economic downturn to the untimely loss of two executive directors in little over a year. That is no mean feat - the recession has killed larger and better-funded non-profits in the area. I specifically would like to call out the outstanding management of current executive director Tyna Gaylor as a major factor in Suited's survival these past few years. I cannot say enough about Suited for Change, but don't take my word for it... SAP, the German international Fortune-500 sofware maker for whom I work, has been a corporate donor for five years going into the sixth year this fall. Suited for Change sells itself with outstanding results, client testimonials, and continual and innovative changes to our mission and services as the needs of local women evolve. Suited for Change does all of this without recieving a single penny of District or Federal funds - something I hope we can change for ourselves!
Suited For Change is one of the most inspiring and effective non-profits in the DC area. Our mission is simple: giving women a hand up, not a hand out. We provide gently used professional clothing and program support to women who are transitioning from poverty to economic independence. Our clients come from the most challenging of circumstances: drug abuse programs, homeless and domestic abuse shelters, exoffender programs....and they come to us seeking real change. I have met so many SFC clients and former clients that have said that Suited has literally transformed their lives. Respect, personal attention-- we given our clients the boost they need to enter the job market with confidence. We also leverage every dollar that we receive by partnering with other social service agencies in the area, and by relying on our "army of devoted volunteers" to deliver our services to the client community. We have a dedicated and hardworking board of directors which is steering SFC through the challenges of the current economic situation, and focusing SFC on delivering our services in the most effective manner possible.
Suited for Change, Washington DC, impacts women's lives and gives them hope. I was first introduced to SFC by one of its clients. She was being honored at a fund-raising event and asked me to accompany her. My heart was moved to hear the stories of women who had no hope in life and how SFC had come along side them, giving them training for interview and job skills and complete wardrobe "makeovers" to help give them confidence in their job interviews and for the workplace. My friend has gone from homelessness and personal disappointments to success and promotions in a government position. She has been gone from "down and out" to serving her community on an appointed board, working tirelessly as a fundraiser, and giving motivational speeches. These successes came about through the support and influence of Suited for Change. Having attended fund-raising events, I am greatly impressed wtih the generosity and selflessness of the leaders and volunteers in this organization. They do so much to benefit women who need help in rising above their circumstances with very little means. Yet, those corporations who do support SFC are generous and SFC could not exist without them. Thank you, SFC, for your joyful commitment to making a difference!
Suited for Change is truly an amazing organization. I for one can not look back over my life without acknowledging the great positive impact SFC had on my life and still does. Where do I start, at the end of my nightmare would be a good a place. I was living, no exsisting in a life of substance abuse and denial. This life style as it was grants you nothing and takes everything from you. When I was finally able to pull myself up and away so I could begin my life again, I had no marketable skills or presence, in fact I had very low self esteem. After finishing a job readiness program which was part of my recovery, I was terrified. I did not know even how to approach looking for a job. Enter an invitation from an organization that had opportunities for me to be able to recieve training in resume writing and how to dress for an interview as well as give you the suit for the interview. THis was of course Suited for Change. THey gave me more that a suit, they gave me a thrist for excellence that I still have today! The classes on presentation gave me such confidence and the one on one mentoring from the many giving and warm women of SFC began to help me heal and believe in myself again. When I recieved my acceptance letter from XEROX on the first interview, my self worth was outstanding!!! No more poor Leary I was going to succed. I eventually went on to become an on site contract liasion between Dept of Energy and Xerox and the service Techs. Life is good now due to a lot of encouragement and training from SFC, they always leave the door open which is such a plus!! You never know when you will need a word or a push in the right direction again. I have gone on to speak with many people, organizations and I was blessed to even speak on the Supreme Court floor wuth at least 1 Supreme Court judge in residence and a room full of Lawyers and organizations that are striving to be apart of the solution in the metro area. I have had a great journey back to me and I thank Suited for Change for seeing the best in me, as I went from the streets to the Board Room.
Suited for Change (SFC)is an amazing organization! Their mission is to equip, educate and empower women to move from unemployment to jobs and self sufficiency in an environment of trust & respect. But those are just words---what they do is change lives! I've met many of the women who SFC have worked with. Most have gone from near homelessness to employment and SFC has done this with an ever DECREASING budget. But instead of decresing their services, they are reaching out to more. The event I worked was a first step to reach out to Women veterans that need help from SFC. In the day of limited resources SFC makes the best of everything. This truly is a first Class organization!