Dress for Success in Brookhaven has served over 6,000 women since becoming the first affiliate in 1999.
Olguine Charleston was just coming out of a messy and stressful divorce when she found Dress for Success. She was looking for help, a way to get back into the workforce to support her children, be financially stable, and have a good life. Luckily, she found all those things.
“It opened my eyes in a way to reshape my life,” Charleston, of West Babylon, said of the program.
What began as a way to help her get out of a tough time has become one of her life’s passions, as she is still involved and gets together with a group every month. She added that it has become a group ally that has carried her to a new life.
“The women in the group become like a support system,” she said.
Stories like these are in the thousands, as Dress for Success in Brookhaven celebrates 20 years of helping women across Long island. Brookhaven was the first affiliate of what is now an international nonprofit with 160 chapters in 28 countries. It has served over 1 million women since its creation by Nancy Lublin in 1997.
Women in need of business attire can come to Dress for Success and not only get that, but career counseling, interview tutoring, and job-readiness training as well. Each client receives two suits for their first interview, and then are able to come back in to get a week’s worth of clothes once hired. Clients can also join a professional women’s group, which offers counseling, networking and trainings. All services are free to clients.
The organization has grown a lot in 20 years, according to Sharon Boyd, executive director who has been with the nonprofit since 2003. Job-ready women are referred through over 200 partners across the island, including domestic violence agencies, homeless shelters and job-training programs. The nonprofit now holds a staff of over 50 volunteers.
Celebrating 20 years
Dress for Success Brookhaven will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a gala at Land’s End, 80 Browns River Road in Sayville, on June 20 at 7 p.m. The event will have drinks, food, music, and more stories on the impact of the organization. The event will also honor supervisor Ed Romaine and the town board, California Closets, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, and Edna Gerrard of Decision Women in Conference. For tickets and more information, visit brookhaven.dressforsuccess.org. Sponsorships and journal ads are also available through the website, and will be open until June 10.