After wrapping up a month long campaign highlighting Empower Yolo’s financial empowerment services for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Empower Yolo continues empowering clients through a new career support program.
This fall Empower Yolo, in partnership with Soroptimist International (SI) Davis (whose mission is to to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment), launches its Dream It, Be It – Career Support Program.
“The purpose and goal of this program is to provide career support for low-income individuals who are looking for work,” says Katy Zane, Program Consultant for Short Term Emergency Aid Committee (STEAC) and the Soroptimist International Committee Chair for this program.
The program, which is supported by a grant from Soroptimist International of the Americas, also utilizes STEAC’s Suit Up for Success Program (which provides interview outfits for low-income job seekers). This career program was an outgrowth from a similar program Soroptimist runs at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in Davis, which is geared for high school students.
“Dream It, Be It – Career Support Program is so important because a lot of the people we help do not know the basics behind finding a job. For many individuals, this is the first time they have had a resume. They may also lack self-esteem and need a helping hand to have the confidence to move forward in their job search,” Zane says.
This program launched its first 4-week session on September 5, 2018, helping 7 clients. Follow-up will occur three months after each session to find out which clients obtained a job. “The ultimate goal is to help individuals become self-sufficient and employed,” says Zane.
The program consists of 4-week sessions with 2-hour classes that include presentations, as well as volunteer career mentors from Empower Yolo and SI Davis that work one on one with clients to cover the following topics: Resumes (where each client provides background on their education and experience that a mentor uses to help create a resume); Interview Skills (where a guest lecturer facilitates a session providing tips on how to have a successful interview); Job Searches and Online Applications (where career mentors work one on one with clients to show them how to do job searches and together they fill out an online application); and Dressing for Success (where a SI Davis volunteer provides overall and customized instruction on how to dress appropriately for employment interviews).
Clients can obtain interview outfits through Empower Yolo’s clothing closet, or through STEAC’s Suit Up for Success Program where mentors can accompany clients to Suit Up store sites at All Things Right and Relevant in Davis or My Sister’s Closet in Woodland, and act as personal shoppers to obtain outfits for interviews.
Although the program is new the partnership is hopeful for its success. Program leaders look to other programs like STEAC’s Suit Up for Success Program and find that over 60% of the individuals helped find employment. “Individuals can walk into a store site with low self-esteem, but after spending an hour with a volunteer mentor/personal shopper, and receiving nice interview outfits they have the confidence they need to do well in an interview,” says Zane. Interview tips, a resume, and a professional outfit can make a world of difference in helping a client gain confidence in their pursuit for financial empowerment. “It is also a rewarding program for mentors to be able to provide this gift and change the life of someone less fortunate,” says Zane.
The next session starts November 14 and runs through Dec 12, 2018. As the new session gears up program leaders hope to have more clients per session and more volunteer mentors. To sign up for the program, or for questions about the clothing closet contact Empower Yolo at (530) 661-6336, or Rachael Austin at [email protected].
The community can help by: donating clothes to Empower Yolo’s clothing closet; donating clothes to STEAC’s Suit Up for Success Program at either All Things Right and Relevant in Davis or My Sister’s Closet in Woodland (see store websites for details); donating personal hygiene products to Empower Yolo or SI Davis (see SI Davis website for details); or donating $5 gift cards to McDonalds, Walmart or Target. Monetary donations are always helpful and can be made anytime at empoweryolo.org.
Empower Yolo’s clothing closet is located at the main office, 175 Walnut Street, Woodland. The closet is open to clients and the community Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donations can be dropped off during office hours. The clothing closet helps provide clients with emergency clothing, and clothes for court appointments and job interviews. The clothing closet is currently seeking clothing donations for interview outfits such as women’s black slacks and white shirts (all sizes, especially larger sizes for women), and all types of men’s clothes (all sizes, especially larger sizes).
Community members can also sign up to be career mentors. Mentors sign up for one 4-week session at a time. The time commitment is 2 – 3 hours/week on Wednesdays from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Empower Yolo in Woodland. To sign up to be a mentor contact Katy Zane at [email protected]. Dream It, Be It – Career Support Program is a great community partnership, and a wonderful opportunity to help change your career path, or help someone change their life.
Holidays at Empower Yolo: We are looking forward to the holiday season at Empower Yolo. If you are interested in giving for the holidays there are many wonderful opportunities:
- Donate to Empower Yolo on Giving Tuesday for end of the year giving on Tuesday, November 27 at: empoweryolo.org.
- Donate grocery gift cards from Grocery Outlet to help provide holiday meals at the shelter. Gift cards of any denomination are welcome and can be dropped off at Empower Yolo during office hours.
- “Adopt a Family” in the shelter to provide holiday gifts; contact [email protected]. Thank you for your generosity and support!