A New and Improved First Step Boutique

By Liz Henderson, First Step Program Manager



First Step is designed to help homeless and formerly homeless women succeed in the workforce. We approach employment education comprehensively by teaching hard skills, such as computer literacy, resume and professional writing, along with practical interview techniques, networking strategies and appropriate work attire.

Since professional appearance is an important element of the First Step curriculum there are times scheduled for every student to select their own work apparel for free from the First Step Boutique, a small area at the Coalition that is filled with women’s suits and other business attire donated by corporate clothing drives. Building self-esteem is as much a part of the process as finding the right outfit so we have staff and volunteers work with the students to encourage them while assisting with their selections.

Recently the First Step Boutique was remodeled to make the space feel more welcoming in order to give our students an uplifting experience while being outfitted with professional clothing. On Friday June 7th we had a launch party to introduce the Firth Step students to the remodeled boutique and to thank our many generous partners and volunteers for their support with the project. After the opening ceremony, volunteers used the space to hold a workshop around professional dress and outfitted all of the students from Class 117 to prepare them for their upcoming job interviews.

Nicole L., one of our First Steppers had this to say: “First I would like to say thanks to Liz, Pat and the ladies for a job well done preparing the boutique space. I had a wonderful time and everyone was so patient and friendly.”

Venice C. added, “The experience was great and the volunteers did a wonderful job in helping me feel comfortable and confident in the outfit I chose for my job interview.”

We are so grateful to all of the sponsors and organizers who fill our boutique and spent countless hours sorting, cleaning and organizing to make the new and improved First Step Boutique a reality, including Patricia Steele, NAPO NY, Suzanne Tick, Bruce Thompson Creative Services and Levine Design Group LLC.