Family 2 Family

Women out of work get virtual support through Dress for Success

ATLANTA — More than 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. The local chapters of a national nonprofit known for helping unemployed women get back to work are shifting gears to offer support through the pandemic.

“It’s important for people to know there are still people out there who want to support them and want to see them succeed,” said Executive Director of Dress for Success Atlanta Susan Bond McCulloch.

Dress for Success offers career classes, resume writing help and a new professional wardrobe.

“Everything we do is really to uplift and empower women to know they can survive, and they can build a good life for themselves and their families,” said McCulloch.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit and started affecting the economy, nonprofit leaders knew they couldn’t shut their doors, but they had to find different ways to help.

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“We talked about closing but we just weren’t able to. The need was too great.” said Cassie Marino Van Dyke, programs and outreach coordinator. “We had to come up with a way to serve our women virtually.”

Now, the nonprofit is offering dressing appointments via Zoom or FaceTime. It allows the clients to get the clothes they need while still practicing proper social distancing. The organization has also added Zoom classes for interview etiquette and resume writing.

McCulloch said the work they do has a ripple effect on the community as a whole, “For every one woman that we help out of poverty, she takes six of her family members with her.”