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Published May 29, 2022

Success of Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie

DFS is much more than simply a new outfit
Dress For Success Fundraising

For nearly a decade, Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie (DFS) has been the right fit for women in the region who are entering or reentering the workforce.

Founder and executive director Linda Reid decided to launch the charity after she moved to Orillia and was trying to find work herself and noticed a gap in services, particularly for women.

The programs focus on providing a continuum of support and opportunities for women to compete and advance in the ever-changing workplace.

"We have a suiting program in which individuals can come in and get interview-appropriate clothing," explains DFS outreach coordinator Carolyn Gibson. "If they have a scheduled interview, they also can come back and have an employment suiting where they can get five complimentary outfits to support them in the type of work they have."

But DFS is much more than simply a new outfit. The organization is there for women on their employment journey.

The organization has a professional women's group that supports women who are employed to help them navigate the unwritten rules of the working world.

"We talk about financial health, mental health and wellbeing, as well as financial literacy and workplace etiquette," says Gibson.

The group meets once a month and builds on a network of support.

There is also a nine-week breakfast club pre-employment program with an aim to help women build their confidence when finding work.

With the pandemic, DFS went virtual, and this has added a new element.

"It has really changed the way work is," says Gibson. "Some individuals are coming in looking for more casual wear that allows them to work from home."

COVID-19 did not change the vision of DFS.

"Our vision is a world where women do not live in poverty. We strive for a world where all women are financially independent, are treated with dignity and respect and are directly impacting their lives and those of their families. We aspire to a world that fully harnesses the power of women and recognizes their role in economic sustainability," according to the DFS website.

In the past, Gibson says they have tried to serve 100 women in a year and they have a target of 150 for 2022, and approaching the end of April, the organization was at 78.

DFS continues to offer in-person and virtual services.

You can find more information about DFS by clicking here

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