It was a hot summer evening when I loaded my 1975 Ford LTD with my two-year old daughter and all my earthly possessions.
My clothes were packed in garbage bags. Sarah's car seat was wedged between a gigantic asparagus fern and an ancient black and white television set from Kresge's.
It was the day before my 26th birthday.
I was leaving a physically and an emotionally abusive marriage. I was trying to save my life and the life of my daughter. If I didn't leave then .... I may never get the chance again. I had to go.
I had no job.
I had no home of my own.
I had no money.
I was lucky ... I had incredible support from my parents... a place to stay and help with my daughter. I had an education and a good work ethic.
And I had one good dress.
I can still see it ... pinstripe. Black and white and I wore it with a black blazer on the cool days when a sleeveless dress wouldn't work.
And I wore that dress everyday I walked the mall ...searching for a job.
I was lucky ... ten days later I was employed and set to go to training.
But I had the dress. And I felt powerful, strong, smart and capable in the dress. It must have been magical because underneath the dress, was a scared and scarred young woman that had no clue what was next for her and her daughter. She had no idea of the internal pain and self-doubt that resided in her psyche from those few short years of abuse. She just knew she needed a job to survive.
If you have watched the PBS series Half the Sky, you saw what economic freedom can do for women across the world.
My friend Kim is doing something locally. Here is the invite.....
You are invited:
to a fall sign-making workshop with the fabulous Jen from Onion Grove Mercantile. Her custom, hand-painted signs live in homes and business across the country and have even been featured in FOLK magazine. (And more importantly, one of her masterpieces lives in Henry's nursery.)
At this workshop, Jen will walk you through making a fun, fall sign for your home. We'll start with reclaimed barn board and paint, and you will go home with your own work of art that night. Several autumn designs will be available to choose from.
Fall snacks and drinks will be provided, along with great raffle prizes and goodie bags for all attendees.In lieu of a cost for the workshop, please consider a donation to Dress for Success Quad Cities. 100 percent of donations go to the organization, which empowers women toward economic stability by providing them with business-appropriate clothing, mentoring and professional development programs.
When: Thursday, Oct. 11, 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: Fireworks Coffee House, 2139 16th Street, Moline
Please RSVP (yes or no) online here. (When you RSVP, you will have the opportunity to donate to Dress for Success online through a secure PayPal transaction. Remember - all supplies will be provided. There is no cost to make the sign, get your goodie bag, or enjoy fall treats.)
Also, feel free to invite your friends and family. Forward this invite to other women you think would be interested in making their own decorative signs, meeting other women and helping Dress for Success Quad Cities. The more, the merrier! (Please ask friends to RSVP if they plan to attend so I can be prepared with enough supplies.)
About One Night. One Mission.
One Night. One Mission. is a new fundraising event. Dress for Success Quad Cities and Dress for Success Des Moines have chosen this one night to spread the word about the good work Dress for Success is doing for the women in the QC's, across Iowa, and in 120+ cities around the world. We have provided professional attire for over 75 Quad City women and with your financial help we will not only clothe more women but also put programs into place to help them retain their jobs and provide ongoing support and guidance so they can become self-sufficient and successful in their careers. The women that come through our doors are transformed by the possibilities they see before them. We see them leave with a smile on their face, a lift in their step, a boost in their confidence and a glitter in their eyes. You can be part of this wonderful experience!
Unfortunately, I can not attend this event but I donated already. You can, too.
Because out there ... there is a 26 year-old woman that is scared out of her mind, looking for a job.
Help her get a magical dress.