YWCA Helping Women Dress For Success

By Noriko Namiki, Chief Executive Office, YWCA of Oahu

Every year, more than 500 women take advantage of the Dress for Success Honolulu program, based at YWCA of Oahu. This initiative helps women in transition prepare for the workforce by assisting them with professional clothing. But that’s just the first step.


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Noriko Namiki

The Going Places Network continues the process by teaching workplace skills such as computers. It also helps women refine tools from the resume to the interview process, while providing mentoring all the way to employment. Participants are moving from challenging situations ranging from incarceration to surviving domestic violence. Employment not only brings income, but also stability and a sense of achievement.

Kehaulani Coleman, director of Economic Advancement Programs at YWCA of Oahu, says one of the unique aspects about the network is that “it’s a program of women helping women help themselves, one that staff and mentors are very passionate about.”

That passion has produced remarkable results in Honolulu.

Sixty-four women have taken part in Going Places Network at YWCA of Oahu since its beginning in the spring of 2013, and 56 have completed the program. Of those who finished, an astounding 70 percent have found employment. That record of success has now attracted national attention.

Earlier this month at the annual Affiliate Conference in Boston, Dress for Success Honolulu received the 2014 COMPASS Award for outstanding outcomes related to its job readiness program. Across the country and around the world, there are more than 125 affiliates of Dress for Success. The chapter at YWCA of Oahu is the only one in Hawaii and has served more than 4,000 women since its creation 12 years ago.

The ability of Dress for Success Honolulu to continue to help the women of Oahu depends on the donations of groups and individuals, and the extensive involvement of volunteers around the island. We are grateful for your support. Mahalo for sharing your strength with women who can put it to good use. For more information, please go to www.ywcaoahu.org.

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