Most moms can certainly relate to a typical day in Tiffany’s life. “I set my alarm for 5 a.m., I get up, take a shower, get my son dressed, bring my son downstairs so he can get on the van to preschool, then I go back upstairs, get dressed, get my daughter dressed, too. Then we get on the bus, then we transfer to the train, and I drop her off at school.”
Then Tiffany heads to work herself, sometimes on two hours of sleep. Tiffany just started her new job at a nursing home. “I fell in love with them. It’s never a dull moment in a nursing home, no it’s not. They are always cracking me up. Some are very sweet.”
The hardest part about working as a home health aide or in a nursing home, she says, is when the people she has been caring for pass away. “I was working as a home health aide before, and this one lady loved me so much, she wanted to change my last name to hers. And then she passed away a couple of weeks after my birthday. I was so sad. That’s the hardest part. The last woman that I had to take care of, she eventually passed away, too.”
Despite the sadness, she knows it is an inevitable part of life and still loves doing the job. “I’ve been doing that kind of work since 2007. So, that’s 10 years. With eight kids, I’m a natural caretaker.”
Roselyn’s personal hero is her mother. “She raised four children by herself, working two jobs as an assistant teacher,” she says, beaming.
To this day, her mother is a constant source of advice and inspiration for her. “She always knows how to make the worst situation into a better situation.”
She looks for solutions immediately – something Roselyn thinks she inherited from her mother. “She would always say to me, ‘This is not the end of it; you have other options. I need you to be a strong, confident woman.’ She would just encourage me to deal with the situation the best way you can, and then from there you can move forward.”
Before Roselyn came to Bottomless Closet, when she was really struggling, her mom’s words would pop into her brain. She would say, ‘You’re not going to give up – we’re not going to do that. Because then what is the point? What is the point of struggling to then just give up?’ So she always reinforced that into us.”
Roselyn has a job right now, but she dreams of getting into a career where she can make a difference. “I would love to help people. I would love to give back. If I could work with veterans, the elderly, the homeless, battered women or abused children, I would love that.” She could easily see herself transitioning into a career as a home health aide for those who cannot care for themselves. “I want to make a difference. I feel like I was put on this earth to help. I have a very big heart. I want to give back.”
Through working, she has realized that it is about so much more than just having a job or punching a clock. “I want to feel good and be happy going to work. I want to enjoy my job, enjoy my career, and do something that is meaningful.”
Denise has had a few different jobs, but she is still on the path to her dream career. She credits one of those jobs with giving her the strict work ethic she has now. “I worked in corporate banking on the trading floor. That was very intense and face-paced,” she recalls. “The men were more concerned about the dollar signs than the profit. They’re not like us women who care about relationships. They’re just there to clock in and work. I was in that environment for so long, it framed me to be the person that I am. I’m really disconnected sometimes because I’m so focused,” Denise admits.
Currently attending New York University and majoring in Media Studies, her work ethic has even become part of her reputation around campus. “I remember a young lady saw me at a mixer for scholarship recipients and she goes, ‘I know you, I know you! You’re the student who’s a workaholic. I don’t know your name but I just know that you’re a workaholic!’ People have said, ‘Do you have friends?’ and I guess one day I’ll have friends. I do want to have friends. It’s just that I’m so focused on my goals.”
She recently had the chance to hear an NYU alumnus speak about transitioning to a career at Google, and it gave her the bug. “My ideal job would be working as a Marketing Executive at Google. I really want to explore that, and I’m really excited because at NYU we have clubs and organizations where you get to meet professionals in the media industry, so I’m hoping to make an impact, a connection, get the knowledge that I am so hungry for, and begin to explore my career path.”
Denise is currently working part-time at NYU, but she doesn’t let that interfere with her studies. “It’s important being a full-time student that I have a flexible job, because on my scholarship I can’t get below an A. It’s very intense, but I worked really hard for those scholarships so I want to maintain it.
“I’m just really grateful for all of the opportunities that have been extended to me, and I’m just seeing what happens. I am busy, but for all the right reasons.”
Mireille lost her job two months ago, at a time when her house was in complete chaos. Not only had she been working very long hours at her last job, but she was also selflessly collecting donations of clothing and other items for children in Haiti, and organizing them in her tiny studio apartment – something she still does.
She says she felt an instant pick-me-up during her appointment. “I think that what you people are doing at Bottomless Closet is fantastic. Your volunteer coached me and she kind of perked up my trust in myself. She dressed me like a very professional person,” Mireille says.
Turns out that the outfit worked. “When I walked into the interview, all eyes just turned and they looked at me walking in there with confidence. I mean, I have clothes here and there, but I was going to meet the CFO of the company. After I was dressed by one of your coaches, I felt like, “Here I come!”
Her confidence came from more than just the clothes though. “My coach trained me on how to answer the interview questions, and what questions to ask them, too. When I asked one of the questions that my coach encouraged me to ask, the eyes of the CFO went like, wow. They were very impressed.”
“After the interview, everybody was very pleased, and they told me that they would get back to me in less than a day.” They did, and they offered Mireille an accounting job. “I am going to be an Accounts Receivable Specialist.”
“I thank you guys at Bottomless Closet for giving me the confidence. From the time I walked in the door here, the energy, the environment, everything was inviting.”
Now that she is working again, she hopes to package up more donations to send to children in Haiti very soon.
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It has been a crazy couple of months for Cricely. “I just came here from Puerto Rico on October 15. I was born and raised here in New York, but when I was 14 I moved to Puerto Rico with my mother, so she could take care of my grandfather, and eventually we ended up staying there. I was there for 20 years.
And then Hurricane Maria happened.
“I’ve been through other hurricanes before, like George, but none of them compare to Maria. It was horrible. We had no power, no nothing. With Maria, I had a hunch that the banking systems would be down, so we had taken as much cash out of the bank as we could beforehand.”
As it turns out, her hunch was pretty accurate. “The next day, it was so bad. Two days after the hurricane, going to the supermarket, getting stuff, it was horrible. The lines were three or four hours, and then they would only let you buy certain stuff – one loaf of bread, one pack of bottled water. If you didn’t gas up before Maria, you’d have to sleep at the gas station the night before in order to get gas by 5 o’clock the next afternoon. The lines took that long. It was scary. There was no water to flush the toilets. You’d expect that they’d have water, but they didn’t. No clean drinking water. I actually took a couple of showers in the rain,” she recalls.
Despite going through that horrific disaster, Cricely was more worried about her family members back in New York. “I knew our family here couldn’t contact us, and we were worried for them. We wanted to let them know as soon as possible, but we had to wait two weeks before the city of San Juan at least had phone service, so we could go into the city and try to make phone calls. That was about a 50-minute drive. And the roads were covered in trees, street signs, debris, even dead animals. It was scary.”
Before the hurricane, Cricely made a living as a seamstress and a custom tailor. “I would do custom designs and patterns; I was a clothing designer. But there’s no economy there for that right now.” This week, Cricely is starting her new job as an elevator operator for an intergovernmental organization, working with the building’s security team.
She is currently staying in a shelter with her husband, who is also unemployed and looking for work. “It’s very hard. There’s a lot of screaming and fighting, so it’s impossible to sleep. The only thing they give you is the room. You have to share a bathroom, which is never clean. And there’s no kitchen, so you can’t cook your own meals. And the shelter does not provide food. Right now, thankfully I got a job, so hopefully I’ll be able to eat better soon.”
When she came to Bottomless Closet, she was surprised to find work clothing in her size. “I didn’t think I would find something here because everywhere else, there aren’t a lot of plus-size clothes. When I came here and I saw the blazer and the pants that were presented to me, and the shoes, I was really happy. Everything was nice and professional looking. That was surprising to me, so I really liked that.”
As for the future, Cricely says she would love to go back to school and get her Bachelor’s degree, and eventually start her own plus-size clothing line.
Things have really come full circle for Shaneice. She was just hired by an organization that conducts blood drives throughout the five boroughs.
Her job includes spreading the word about the importance of giving blood – something she can personally attest to, as the recipient of a life-saving blood transfusion when she was a child. “When I was younger, they saved my life. So I just felt like, it’s time for me to give back.”
Shaneice tells us the new job is going very well so far. “I’m doing a lot for them – working the blood drives, encouraging people to sign up and make blood and platelet donations, and then doing reports of how the blood drives went, things like that.”
Since Shaneice has some familiarity with the organization already, it has been an easy transition for her. “I had started volunteering there a couple months ago, and my supervisor asked me if I was interested in working there with her. I wasn’t even looking to get a job there, I just wanted to help. But see – God works in mysterious ways.”
Stephanie is starting her career in the same place where she started her education – the very same elementary school in Queens that she attended as a kid.
“I am going to be a family worker there, so basically a social worker. The school goes from kindergarten all the way through fifth grade. I’ll be able to help the kids with lots of things – family needs, issues, questions – all of that.”
Her favorite part about her new job is that she can be there for kids in a way that she did not experience herself. “I’ll be a mentor for them. It’s what I’ve wanted to do my entire life, because I didn’t have that growing up, so I feel like that’s what I wanted to do with my life – help those in need.”
In fact, you might say it is in her genes. “My aunt is a social worker, too. Before I went on the interview, she encouraged me to just be myself and be genuine and ‘people will love you as you are,’ and it worked.”
Turns out that there were a few familiar faces when she arrived for her interview. “As soon as I got into the office at the school, I started recognizing some of the office staff and some of the teachers that I had. It was really nice. I feel like there’s good energy there.”
On top of her new job, Stephanie is also going to school for social work – she is currently half-way through her Bachelors for Human Services.
Alisha S., a Bottomless Closet alumni, just celebrated her one-year anniversary as a residential aide caseworker at a leading NYC non-profit agency and the largest provider of shelter for homeless families in the City. Alisha is now providing the same kind of TLC she received at Bottomless Closet, helping homeless women and their children get a roof over their heads.
Alisha, who first visited Bottomless Closet when she needed new work clothes – “I had significant weight loss and needed new clothes to wear,” she recalls – and help with resume prep for an interview with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Through that interview, Alisha was referred to a networking event and from that chance invitation, she made a valuable connection that led to a job.
Before she landed her current job, the positions she interviewed for were not in areas she was personally interested in, like retail or childcare. “I finally settled into a position where I could utilize my associated degree in HR and it feels secure and stable with benefits,” said Alisha.
In her new position, Alisha is part of a team that helps close to 12,000 homeless women and their children each year. “I have referred other women [to Bottomless Closet] and the workshops (resume writing, owning my store, job development, development comfort and confidence) were all very helpful services,” she said. “Women come to Bottomless Closet with their head hanging down and leave proud, confident and determined to look great,” continued Alisha. “It is a very clean and professional environment where volunteers take you where you need to be.” Alisha is now looking forward to completing her college degree. “I have so much more confidence in myself and not afraid anymore to take on challenges and seek advancement opportunities as a caseworker.”
Taieisha has been dancing since she was a kid, and soon she will be dancing (well, walking) down the aisle of an airplane as a brand new flight attendant for a major airline.
“I’ve been dancing since I was three years old, and I’ve even danced backup for Rihanna, at the VMAs (the MTV Video Music Awards), and once for Drake, too. I also dance for an urban burlesque group here in the city, and I’m a dance teacher for young girls, too.”
Despite dancing in front of crowds, she admits she was super nervous about the interview process. She credits her appointment at Bottomless Closet with giving her the confidence she needed. “After I left here, and I could see myself dressed up like that, it gave me the confidence to go in there and kill the interview. They told me right afterward that I got the job.”
Taieisha has always loved traveling, so she is excited that this job will enable her to do more of it. “And with the career path I’m trying to take now, the flexibility will still allow me to dance, so I think it’s going to be great.”
She is currently in Minneapolis for a month of training.
Evelyn noticed a big change in her job search after her first visit to Bottomless Closet. “Before I came here, I had sent my old resume to various places for job opportunities, but it wasn’t working,” she recalls. “I was looking for a job for a month and I wasn’t getting any answers back.”
During her appointment, she worked on her resume one-on-one with an employment coach so they could update and improve it. “You fixed my resume, which is something that you don’t pay that much attention to but it’s very important.”
The difference was immediate. “As soon as I updated my applications and started giving out the new resume to the same employers that never responded to my old resume, I got four job interviews back to back,” she recalls. “And from that, and the new outfit, and the confidence you gave me, I got a job in two weeks.”
Evelyn admits that she had not invested time in herself in a long while. “As a woman, you know, I’m a mother of four, so it’s a little difficult for me to get nice things. I just needed a little push and you guys pushed me. I came here with a hope of finding this job and you made it happen. There are no words to describe how this resume opened doors for me.”
Evelyn said she intends to spread the word about Bottomless Closet now that she has experienced it for herself. “Besides the clothes, you gave me confidence. I will continue letting people know how important it is and the job you’re doing for us women.”
“The same way you helped me; there are other women out there with the same needs. It’s good to know that there is always somebody to help. And that we’re not alone.”
Sharifa is our #WomanCrushWednesday because just look at how FAB she looks! After her session she wrote: “I just want you to know I love what this company is doing and I am absolutely appreciative for the help and resources I have obtained today.” You’re so welcome – we can’t wait to celebrate with you when you get that job! #WCW #womenhelpingwomen #changinglives #womenempowerment #jobseeker #getitgirl #charity #nonprofit #makeover #beforeandafter #work #style #fashion #strongwomen #gooddeeds #dogood #givingback #donate #donations #donationsneeded #donationswelcome
In case you missed our #ThrowbackThursday yesterday, here it is for #FlashbackFriday! Recent client Rhonda told us: "From the moment I walked in the door, I was treated like royalty. This is the first picture I have liked of myself in years. My career coach was THE BEST, and everyone really helped me. This was truly a lovely experience." We know you'll take that confidence with you right into your job interview, and we can't wait to celebrate when you get the job! #changinglives #fbf #icymi #womenhelpingwomen #payitforward #jobseeker #tbt #nonprofit #charity #donations #donationsneeded #bosslady #donationswelcome #getitgirl
words from a client
“THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT JOB YOU HAVE DONE AND CONTINUE TO DO WITH WOMEN LIKE MYSELF, WHO IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE FIND OURSELVES IN SITUATIONS WE NEVER DREAMED OF BEING IN. BOTTOMLESS CLOSET RETURNED SOMETHING TO ME I DIDN’T REALIZE I WAS MISSING… HOPE”!
“THE ONE TO ONE MENTORING AND FASHION MAKEOVER WAS MORE REJUVENATING THAN A DAY AT THE SPA!”
“WORDS CAN’T DESCRIBE THE FEELING THAT YOU GIVE PEOPLE AS THEY WALK THROUGH THE DOOR!”
Katherine A., a mother of three, gave up both her career and her home to take care of her grandmother when she became ill. “I knew that I wanted to care for her through the end of her life, but I also know there would be many sacrifices,” recalled Katherine. “After my grandmother passed, I had a seasonal job working for the Parks Department, which required me to seek a permanent job,” continued Katherine. One of the women she encountered at the job placement office connected her with Bottomless Closet. “I was so nervous the day I arrived for my appointment and didn’t know what to expect,” remembered Katherine. She encourages other women considering visiting Bottomless Closet to be open-minded. “It really is there to empower and inspire you,” she adds. After getting new clothes in the boutique, they moved on to reviewing and updating her resume, which Katherine says she still uses today. “The coaching was so helpful because my interview skills were a tad bit rusty,” she said.
The following week, Katherine interviewed for a position with a better career path at and she still works there today, a year later. “I always believed in myself and Bottomless Closet reminded me of who I am at just the time when I needed support to get back on the path I strayed from. Some places are just words, but at Bottomless Closet you feel the support and the values,” said Katherine.
My Name is Latisha B. I graduated Healthcare Training Institute in November 2015 as a Patient Care Assistant. I then searched for employment for months. I was an active member at Jobs Plus, filling out applications and going on interviews. I began to get discouraged. I told my advisor at Jobs Plus I didn’t have anything to wear to my upcoming interview and she referred me to Bottomless Closet.
When I walked into Bottomless Closet, I said to myself “what am I doing here, it’s not like I am going to get a job”. These women saw my spirit was down and at first sight my Employment Coach held my hand and told me “everything will be O.K. you’ll see.” They helped me pick out beautiful outfits and helped me with my resume and my Employment Coach said “all this excellent experience and education, the position is yours ‘claim it’.” The women at Bottomless Closet were patient and courteous. They lifted my spirits. I felt that Women Power I needed.
I pushed myself beyond my own negativity and began to be more positive. I began to job search on my own, outside my school career advisor, outside Jobs Plus. I applied for jobs every day… I walked into local medical offices with my resume and dressed for an interview.
Two months later I received a call and was chosen for the position. I am a proud Medical Assistant/Patient Care Associate for the RYAN-NENA Community Medical Center. My job is around the corner from my home. I have benefits. I feel good about my success and my future because I know I worked hard to get here!
MOVING UP AWARD & FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE AWARD RECIPIENTS 2015
Each year Bottomless Closet highlights the great successes of our clients with the Moving Up Award and the Financial Independence Award. The Moving Up Award is presented to a client who has demonstrated success in her professional development. The Financial Independence Award recipient is a woman who has successfully reached and exceeded her financial goals.
The 2015 Financial Independence Award was presented to Zoe S. Zoe overcame addiction and homelessness to become a substance abuse counselor. She attended all of the financial management workshops available at Bottomless Closet, applying what she learned to her life, and became completely debt free in 2015!
Barbara D. was awarded the 2015 Moving Up Award. Barbara attended a Career Day in 2015 hosted by JC Penney. She was inspired by the employees she met and applied for a job at the company. Barbara was hired and is now employed full time with a flexible overnight schedule that allows her time to continue her studies. She attributes getting this job to the lessons learned in Bottomless Closet’s Professional Development Series of workshops.
words from a client
“I WAS SO GRATEFUL TO BE MADE TO FEEL LIKE A LADY AGAIN. IT HAS BEEN SUCH A LONG TIME THAT I HAVE CARED FOR MYSELF”.
Bonita arrived at Bottomless Closet through a referral from Workforce 1 in August 2009. She had participated in a three-week customer service training for corporations and was gearing up for an interview. She was familiar with Dress for Success but she was not sure what to expect from Bottomless Closet when she arrived to her first appointment. A discouraged independent woman with difficulty finding job prospects after the economic downturn, she felt she had nothing to lose.
A volunteer at the organization outfitted her with professional attire – in navy. To Bonita, Bottomless Closet filled a void. “It is not so much only clothing. People there care and reminded me that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that I don’t have to accept things as they are but if I hang on and persevere, they will help me get to where I want to go.”
Bonita is now a marketing consultant for a security company and a certified personal trainer. She thanks Bottomless Closet for giving her the resources and encouragement making it easy to have a purpose to walk out every day. Bonita remains a part of the organization’s community by participating in workshops and attending luncheons where she occasionally struts the catwalk to benefit the organization.
The impact of our 15 years could not be better portrayed than through the words of our clients. Teshia, a client, returned for a post-hire appointment after a challenging job search.
“It has been a long journey for me. I returned to New York after almost 20 years. The transition did not go as smoothly as I’d hoped, but I didn’t give up. I found myself on public assistance and in a shelter at one point. Fortunately, I have a good friend who is allowing me and my son to rent a room.
I never thought that at my age I’d be starting over again or that it would be so hard to find a job… I worked here and there but didn’t have any luck finding long term employment. So I took some computer classes that I needed in order to make myself more marketable, I became certified in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint with a working knowledge of Excel and I interned at the school helping other adults like myself to learn or improve their computer skills. I realized there are a lot of people like myself that have become displaced in this economy.
In September of 2013 I started working for the New York City Parks Department in a job that I never saw myself doing, which was cleaning and maintaining a park. It has been a very humbling experience. My job developer knew that I was qualified to do other things so she had me applying to all Direct Care job listings, but I didn’t have a suit for job interviews. I had some business casual clothes but no suits, and she gave me a referral to your organization which I had no idea about. I had my doubts that you would have anything that would fit me because I’m a full figured woman. But low and behold! Y’all had an excellent selection of clothes in my size, and accessories. I was so happy. But that was just a part of the experience. Not only did I receive the clothes, I received interview counseling. I didn’t realize that I needed it because I’m a pretty confident person, but I was rusty and hadn’t had a serious interview in years. It was invaluable. The questions I was asked during my interview session at Bottomless Closet helped prepare me for the interview I had. They asked me some of the same questions and I was ready! Yes! Again I want to thank Bottomless Closet from the bottom of my heart. You are an organization that is making a difference in peoples’ lives.”
Sherry is a single mother of two who drove from Nashville, TN to New York in 2006 to start a new life with her children. She was referred to Bottomless Closet through St. John’s University Advantage Academy. She came to the organization in May 2012 already set up with a job interview. She needed to look professional.
Sherry didn’t know what to expect from Bottomless Closet. She thought she would be going to a thrift shop. What she experienced was akin to a “personal shopper boutique”. She left in high spirits with her outfits. In addition to the clothing, her confidence was boosted by the staff and the volunteers, which she had not expected. Sherry says that the organization “went above and beyond her expectations”. It gave her the resources to “look the part” for her interview and she landed the job in early July. Sherry returned to Bottomless Closet at the end of July for more office gear.
To Sherry, the organization means success and positivity. “Bottomless Closet made me realize that I can do it, I can make a positive change in my life and that they will be there to help me attain my goals. BC also reminded me to keep my head up high and hang in there because things do get better.”
Sherry works as a career and educational consultant at a company which is partnered with the City of New York. She continues to be a part of the Bottomless Closet community by referring new beneficiaries to the organization.
Donna was a victim of domestic abuse from her husband of over twenty years. Her self-esteem, sense of independence and cheerfulness had gone from her life. Donna wanted to pull herself out of the abyss and begin life fresh. When she got a job interview in 2009, Migdalia from Goodwill Industries referred her to Bottomless Closet. Donna thought she would be grabbing clothes and returning to her shelter. She wanted to prepare for her interview.
On her first visit, she told Phyllis White she needed a power suit because she wanted to get back on track and get the job. Phyllis nodded, went to the clothes rack and had Donna try out a navy blue Ralph Lauren suit, a beige Tahari suit and navy tasseled Ferragamo shoes. When Donna put the clothes on and saw her reflection in the mirror, she jumped up and down and smiled for the first time in years.
“The clothes gave my self-esteem such a boost, I felt human, it gave me the start back into my life again and I felt like a million bucks!” Of that experience Donna says, “Phyllis came to geese me up, and brought my self-esteem up when I thought I was only getting one outfit. I was in heaven!” She is grateful for Bottomless Closet for providing her with much needed support when she was at her most vulnerable. “They don’t have to do this but they do it and give people like me the best of the best and had faith in me. I got my life back, self-esteem and a whole new outlook on things, thanks to Bottomless Closet.”
Donna is an advocate for battered women. She continues to be part of the organization and participates in events and workshops. Donna is now an IT trainer in the healthcare industry. Her motto is “life is a pancake, flip it!”.
When Tina Cooper finished an advanced legal office assistant program at FEGS in
Manhattan and then lined up interviews, she came to Bottomless Closet. “I had no income at all when I went to Bottomless Closet,” says Tina. “I had three children, bills, rent. It was my family who kept me going through this time.” After working with Bottomless Closet volunteers to find an outfit and prepare for her interview, Tina secured a job with the legal firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where she continues to work today.
Tina is a self-proclaimed Bottomless Closet regular. She says she has missed only two of the seminars Bottomless Closet has ever given, because, she says, she finds the seminars informative and helpful. “Everyone at Bottomless Closet is doing her best to bring together professionals who help women advance their careers. I have been in the workforce some thirty years, and I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of Bottomless Closet’s seminars,” says Tina.
Lately Tina has become even more involved at Bottomless Closet. She now does volunteer computer work at Bottomless Closet and chairs a new client committee that she hopes will get Bottomless Closet clients even more involved with the organization and will rally support for future Bottomless Closet activities.
words from a client
“YOUR ORGANIZATION WAS A VITAL COMPONENT IN HELPING ME ACHIEVE MY GOAL OF GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT IN THE FIELD I LOVE”.
After 8 years at Verizon, Acquanetta B. accepted a buyout to escape an increasingly stressful environment. Her abusive husband was also her co-worker and the domestic violence was exacerbated by their joint work environment. She moved in with her grandmother who was her only support system during this hard time. Unfortunately Acquanetta’s grandmother passed away and she found herself alone to deal with her divorce. Battling depression, Acquanetta ended up in the NYC homeless shelter system.
At the age of 40, Acquanetta turned things around and enrolled in college to pursue a degree in psychology and teacher education. Acquanetta came to Bottomless Closet in June of this year. She received interview clothing, reviewed her resume and prepared for her interview with an Employment Coach. Her scheduled interview was for a Teacher’s Assistant position at a childcare center. However, the Director of the center saw something special in Acquanetta and hired her as the Assistant Bookkeeper instead. The Director felt that Acquanetta’s personality and communication skills would be well matched to the parents of the children in the program. She was employed once again
Acquanetta says she hopes her story “inspires others who are going through the same situation to be strong and never give up … I think Bottomless Closet is wonderful; the staff is very warm and kind. Bottomless Closet promotes self-esteem, confidence and strength, which is exactly what I needed!”
“There’s always a solution,” says Annie Harris, “as I learned studying math in grade school. You may not see it right away, or for a while, but there’s always a solution.” Annie’s positive approach to life was severely tested on September 11, 2001. Pregnant with her fifth child, she was too unwell to go to her job as a cook at the Dow Jones offices in the World Trade Center.
Not long after the birth of her baby, Annie’s husband left her. With bills to be paid and children to feed, Annie, who had worked since high school, was forced to seek public assistance. She was connected to CUNY’s Poised for Success – a skills and educational program for mothers with children under three. And the solution began to appear. Referred by POISED, one year later, Annie came to Bottomless Closet. One week after starting her work assignment with COPE (College Opportunity to Prepare for Employment) at Bronx Community College, Annie was offered a paid position that was made full-time in June 2004.
Bottomless Closet now offers Annie the opportunity to extend her skills and broaden her horizons. “Would you believe that before I attended Bottomless Closet’s budgeting workshops I thought you saved all the money first and then bought your house?” She now understands that there are home financing options available. “And from the yoga and workshops on nutrition, I’ve improved my mind, my body, and my children’s health.” Her only criticism is: “the workshops should be longer, those two hours just fly by.”
When asked how she manages as a single parent, with a long commute and a full-time job, Annie laughs. “What could be better than productive, fulfilling work and the support and love of my family? And next year as well as starting college, I’d like to volunteer at Bottomless Closet.”