BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The pandemic hit women hard with many leaving their jobs to care for their children, but as life slowly returns to normal the nonprofit Dress For Success is helping them restart their careers.
"We try to make sure that every woman that comes here has that kind of Cinderella moment when they put on their clothes and see themselves in the mirror for the first time and they’re just like,'Wow, this is so cool,'" said executive director Elaine McNearney.
McNearney said making those moments happen are crucial right now during the pandemic.
“Schools being closed, no childcare, so we know that women are really struggling and getting back to work is going to be very difficult," she said.
As the world slowly reopens, the goal is to help women re-enter the workforce.
“It’s been a very bad year, everybody knows that, so for me, it's really important that we start to get women out there, start to decrease the fear, get people vaccinated, get them back to work," said McNearney.
And it’s not just about the clothes.
“We do resume assistance. We help women look for jobs online. We prep them for their interview," she said.
McNearney said Dress For Success has a trickle down effect.
“If you empower a woman, you empower her family. She empowers the community and it just goes from there," she said.
And in her opinion, giving women confidence is the best part
“Seeing the light go on in people’s eyes, seeing them understand that they look just like everybody else, that they can talk like everybody else, that they are worthy and confident and able to do things in our community," said McNearney.
COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives, including nonprofits. McNearney said it’s been tough but she’s excited to move forward.
“We are just really excited about the partnerships we’re developing," she said. "Not doing the same as we used to. We’re going to build it back up bigger and better.”
And McNearney said without the community’s donations, none of this would be possible.
“We wouldn’t be here without them and we wouldn’t be supporting the 3,000 women that we’ve seen without the support of Bakersfield," she said.
Right now Dress For Success is by appointment only due to COVID-19. You can call them at (661) 748-1809.