Nonprofit organization helps women in LI dress for job search success

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FARMINGVILLE, NY – On its surface, Dress for Success Brookhaven helps women by providing the outside help they need to be successful in the workplace: interview clothing, resumes, and financial planning support . But one woman from Long Island credits meeting with the organization for helping to transform her life on a deeper level, providing a much needed boost of confidence at a crucial time in her life.

Star Arbouin, of Rocky Point, had lost almost everything in 2013: her certified home daycare business closed after budget cuts and Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc. She was living in a homeless shelter with her three children, working as a substitute teaching assistant, when a flood at the shelter destroyed her remaining belongings. Arbouin had nothing to wear to work.

A counselor at the shelter told her to contact Dress for Success, a nonprofit organization based in Farmingville.

“After losing my business, I couldn’t stay afloat,” recalls Arbouin.

Dress for Success provided her with a week of work clothes, even helping her mix and match pieces to make them last longer.

“It was a very friendly inviting atmosphere, the support was very rewarding, especially because I came from a place where I felt like everything in my life had fallen apart,” she told Patch.

Arbouin felt such a boost of confidence and support that she joined a professional support group for women run by the organization. She has attended financial planning workshops and applied the curriculum vitae and networking training to her life.

Established in 1999, Dress for Success Brookhaven estimates that they have suited more than 6,500 women for job interviews and the workplace. A personal shopper helps each woman with her specific needs. A career center offers resume reviews, interview training, and the Professional Women’s Group which Arbouin said was a welcoming space for women supporting other women.

“They helped encourage me to start over,” Arbouin told Patch.

“There is something about the fact that when you dress in a certain style, it builds your self-confidence.”

She now works for Suffolk County Social Services and says she credits the meeting in 2013 to being life changing.

“But you have to apply the help. The confidence that was restored was not there when I first met them and that confidence to embrace change,” helped her try a new career path.

“I feel I now have the confidence to accept any change.”

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