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2016-09-12 13:30:15
Clothing Drive for Women Helping Women
Every year I hold an annual garage sale to raise money and awareness for local non-profits that are making a difference in our community. This year, I wanted to do something a little different, so I'm partnering with the amazing non-profit organization, Women Helping Women, to gather clothing and other goods to help both men and women who are entering the workforce.
A fellow friend and tri-athlete, Jan McQueen, has volunteered at WHW for years; I only found out when I went to help stylize women for their job interviews. She continues to assist in raising money by writing grants, and I try to assist by ping off my clothes (and clothes from family and friends.)
Check out this up-close interview with Jan {and don't forget to scroll down to the bottom to see how you can donate to the clothing drive!}

Please join me as I welcome Jan Fields McQueen to the blog [strategic grant planner] as she shares more about WHW and what makes their organization unique!
Q: How did you first get involved with WHW?
A: I first started as a Volunteer at WHW.  Later, WHW provided me with the opportunity to begin my new career as an independent grant writer.  For over 9 years, I have enjoyed helping to raise private and public grant funding to support WHW and all of their employment readiness programs.
Q: What's your favorite part about what you do?
A: I love to hear about and share the clients' success stories!  Meeting the people who have been helped by WHW, learning about their unique stories, and hearing how getting a good job changed their lives for the better is a very rewarding experience.
Q: What exactly does WHW do? Is it locally or does it extend to other areas?
A: Although Orange County has a reputation of being a very affluent community, reality is much different.  According to the United Way, Orange County faces four interconnected issues -- Education, Income, Health and Housing.  Over 300,000 residents are living below the poverty level; a minimum-wage worker must work 124 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom apartment; 1 in 6 residents lack access to quality healthcare; and nearly 30,000 children do not have a stable place to live!  WHW helps to address these problems by helping people attain employment success. 
WHW is a non-profit organization that provides the unemployed and underemployed with the skills and resources they need to get and keep a good job.  WHW serves men and women for various reasons including economic downturns, traumatic situations, lack of skills in job search techniques, limited access to resources, and/or other barriers to gainful employment.  Since inception in 1993, WHW has served over 70,000 job seekers with employment readiness services - all for free! 
Many of WHW's clients come as referrals from over 275 partner organizations throughout Orange County -- such as shelters, transitional housing programs, schools, rehabilitation programs, Welfare-to-Work, youth and veteran agencies.  WHW's partners rely on WHW's workforce development services so they can focus on their own core missions, and send their clients to WHW for job readiness training when they are ready to go to work.
WHW provides services at its main facility in Santa Ana, but also takes the educational workshops to the doors of partner organizations through their Workshops on Wheels (WOW) program -- which enables clients with transportation or child care concerns to still be able to learn how to get a job in today's job market.
Q: What types of programs does WHW provide do to help women in the workplace?  Do you help men too?
A: WHW provides job readiness training and support services to men, women, and teen job seekers. All services are free and include the Employment Readiness Program (which consists of educational workshops, computer training, job placement assistance, and employment retention support) and Professional Apparel (every client gets two complete business outfits which are essential for a job interview or those first few days at a new job). 
WHW has a strong track record of helping clients succeed -- over 60% get a job within 4 months and over 90% retain their jobs long-term. Attaining employment helps our clients achieve economic self-sufficiency, and once employed, families see an increase in their household income which improves access to better education, healthcare, and housing.
Q: Are there any other ways people can get involved/donate to WHW??
A: Various opportunities exist to contribute to the success of WHW and our clients. First of all, financial donations are critical and enable WHW to provide all services to clients at no charge, even though it costs WHW approximately $260 per person. Clothing drives/donations are also very much appreciated.   

WHW also strongly relies upon Volunteers. Over 1,000 volunteers help WHW deliver their services every year!  Volunteer opportunities exist as Personal Stylists, workshop facilitators, with reviewing and writing resumes, researching and posting open job opportunities, as well as with general office work.  Corporate team-building events can be arranged where employees can work together on a specific project. WHW also relies upon volunteers to help with fundraising events, and to participate on our Board.



West Bluff Costa Mesa Clothing Drive! 

Consider donating your slightly used and new professional women's clothing, purses, men's clothing, and other goods! Read more:

WHW accepts all new and gently used Professional and Casual clothing and accessories. Currently, we are in dire need of women's purses, women's jewelry and men's belts. 
Professional clothing is given to our clients to ensure they can go to an interview or new job with confidence. Casual clothing that is not business-appropriate will be featured in one of our two social enterprise activities -- our Saturday Sales, where everything is sold for $5 or less, or our Deja New Resale Shop in Costa Mesa, where designer clothes and accessories are sold at great prices.  All proceeds from both social enterprises go directly back to support WHW's programs.
For more information on WHW and how to support our job seekers, please visit www.whw.org.
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