Attitudes & Attire™ serves women emerging from difficult situations of transition – including addiction, domestic violence, incarceration and medical and mental illness. Given the overwhelming barriers to their success, many of the women we serve suffer from low self-esteem and difficulty believing in themselves and their abilities. This lack of confidence hinders their ability to become gainfully employed. Attitudes & Attire™ bridges the gap between traditional social service agencies and our clients’ ability to secure a position in the workforce.
One such client, Castanita, recently told us about the strong impact the Attitudes & Attire™ program had on her life. While in elementary school in Chicago, Castanita was abandoned by her mother. Her father had long been out of the picture, so with no parental support, Castanita turned to the streets. She sought out whatever shelter she could find, which at times included cardboard boxes. Castanita came to rely on income from prostitution, which she used to support the drug habit she soon developed. Repeatedly arrested throughout the next several decades, Castanita split her time between jail and the street.
Eventually, she made her way to Texas, where one arrest resulted in a court order that she spend time in rehabilitation for substance abuse. While there, she heard mention of a program called Attitudes & Attire™. Other women in the rehabilitation program who had been to Attitudes & Attire™ spoke of it in glowing terms, and they even showed Castanita the professional clothing with which they had returned. Though Castanita herself was eligible to attend Attitudes & Attire™ workshops, she was afraid that she would be judged and rejected as nothing more than a homeless drug addict.
However, Castanita mustered the courage to sign up for Attitudes & Attire™. When she came to her first workshop, she was astonished to be treated with universal respect by the staff. She now cites this unconditional acceptance as the first step towards rebuilding her self-esteem. Eventually, she attended all three Attitudes & Attire™ workshops, and her confidence gradually blossomed from workshop to workshop. Additionally, she was thrilled to receive a suit from our boutique. In her new clothes, she for the first time achieved her childhood dream of , “feeling like a lady.”
Today, Castanita has a full-time job and her own apartment. Clean and sober, she is a model of what strong self-esteem can accomplish. She regularly relies on practices she learned in the Attitudes & Attire™ workshops, including using affirmations of self-worth and ensuring that her inner dialogue remains positive. All of us on staff here at Attitudes & Attire™ could not be prouder of Castanita. She, and women like her, are the reason that Attitudes & Attire™ is so important – and why I love the work that I do.
I encourage you to help women like Castanita rediscover their self-worth. Whether you prefer donating funds or time, any gift you make to Attitudes & Attire™ goes towards helping our women become self-sufficient – and that is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
In 1996, Lyn Berman founded Attitudes & Attire™ out of a desire to encourage and inspire women facing difficult life situations. She saw a need to address areas not traditionally covered in workplace training, including raising self-esteem and providing work-appropriate attire. Since the program’s inception, more than 16,000 women have acquired tools to build the confidence they need to succeed. Attitudes & Attire™ will be hosting its 16th annual luncheon and fashion show March 1, 2013. For information or to purchase tickets, please visit attitudesandattire.org. Find the organization on Facebook by clicking here.