More than a year ago, a group of friends decided they wanted to do more to help their fellow women in need to find jobs, some direction and overall boost their confidence so they could reach their full potential.
It started with handbags. But in no time, the founding members of My Career Closet began to focus on helping women literally from head to toe — providing professional clothes, jewelry and other accessories.
But Jackie Campbell, one of the founding members of the group, said the nonprofit organization has become more than just a resource for women to receive professional clothes. It's where someone in need can go to receive emotional and mental support while being guided in the right direction for mentoring, financial services and other resources they might need.
After having helped 103 clients, the group not only celebrated its one-year anniversary on Saturday, but also its move to a new location in Brooksville, with raffles and other activities.
"Women come in here and they not only find clothes, but a support network of other women who are here to help people build their confidence. And we start by helping them look their best and feel their best," Campbell said. "It all starts with building confidence. And when we talk to clients, it's amazing what we can learn in a 10 minute conversation. During that time, we also point them in the right direction for where they can find other resources they need, from nutritionists to debt managers."
Brittney Gariepy, another founding board member of the group, likened My Career Closet to having the heart of a Goodwill store while offering women the experience of a boutique.
Women who are referred to the group by nonprofit organizations are provided with one business professional outfit to interview for jobs — which includes shoes, jewelry and purses — and, if hired, are then provided with a week's worth of clothing to help them get started in their new job.
Volunteers also offer their services of doing makeup and hairstyles.
"We also help them pick out everything and help them decide on looks that maybe they never considered for themselves," Gariepy said.
The group is accepting donations for gently used clothing, shoes and accessories along with any job listings, referrals or volunteers.
For more information, call (352) 293-2015 or go to www.facebook.com/MYCAREERCLOSET.