Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Our First Clients

Greetings Friends! I hope everyone is staying well. Continuing on with the early days of our new program. In mid January, I received a call from our first client who needed clothing for his upcoming job interview. I ended up getting a second call from another client, so I had 2 appointments for the first day. I was nervous and excited. I didn't have a ton of clothes or shoes, so I was hoping so badly that the guys fit into what I had. It would have been very disappointing if they couldn't fit into anything.

The appointments went great. Both guys found clothes that they needed and they were very happy. The first guy was going for an interview for a construction union job. He was nervous at first, but relaxed as he started trying on clothes. He wanted to wear jeans for the interview, but wanted to get a blazer, shirt, tie and dress shoes. He looked great and he especially loved the shoes. They were brand new Red Wing steel toe black work shoes. I tried to suggest he get dress pants too, but he really wanted to wear his jeans for the interview. The outfit looked great and even though he was wearing jeans, he still looked professional for his interview.

It was so amazing to see the transformation that happened when the men put on professional clothing. They stood taller, their head held higher and they smiled. The look of confidence was remarkable. The guys know how good they feel. They are happy to see their own transformation in the mirror. All of them have been so thankful and appreciate, it has been really touching.

As the weeks went by, we got more and more clients coming in for interview clothing. I worked on outreach to various programs and services across the Boston area to share our new program and I was met with lots of positive feedback from the agencies that I reached out to. They said there was such a need for the program. I reached out to job training programs, rehabilitation programs, DTA and other social services groups. We also partnered with a hospitality industry job training program and were able to outfit men who were about to complete the intensive program and were ready for interviews.

A number of the clients coming in over the months were recovering from addiction. They spanned a variety of ages and backgrounds. When I meet the guys who are in recovery, I can't help but think that they are in some ways, the lucky ones because they have made it through. Every time I meet them, I think of all the men and women who haven't survived addiction. It is heartbreakingly sad. When I help them find their clothing, I keep hoping to myself that they are able to stay on a good path and beat the disease. You see their smiles and joy when they look in the mirror and it is really touching.

For myself, I never imagined how much joy I could feel doing this program. I feel so happy when the guys put on the perfect suit that I literally clap my hands. It is wonderful to see the direct impact of our work and it is amazing to be able to see how happy the guys are in their new clothing. My wish with this program is to help level the playing field. For many of us, having an interview appropriate outfit in the closet is taken for granted. But for many others, it isn't that way. No one should be judged badly because they couldn't afford to buy the right clothes to wear for an interview. It's not fair.

Here are a few before and after photos of some of the clients that have to come our program since it started.

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