Working Wardrobes has expanded our partnerships and services for young adults in 2023, serving almost 600 working-age youth in the first eight months of the year alone. We partner with many local agencies to provide career readiness workshops and professional wardrobing to Southern California’s young adult population, including Simon Scholars – a program of the Simon Family Foundation. This summer, Working Wardrobes and Simon Scholars rekindled our partnership after nearly a decade. Together, and with immense support from our corporate partners and volunteers, we provided 100 scholars with access to our signature Power of Your Image workshop, and a “Success Suit.”
Simon Scholars is a scholarship program “designed to help students facing difficult life and economic circumstances to excel academically and socially, so they can successfully complete a 4-year college degree and pursue a meaningful career” (SimonScholars.org). The program’s mission aligns seamlessly with ours: to help people overcome barriers to gainful employment. A partnership between our two organizations enables us to reach young adults at a critical point in their career journeys – the evolution from student to professional and, often, where the two coexist.
100 Kick-Started Careers
Throughout June and July, Working Wardrobes provided 100 students with a “Power of Your Image” workshop and professional wardrobing services. Yesenia Capellino, Simon Scholars’ Assistant Director of College Access, shared her gratitude:
“We are so grateful to collaborate with Working Wardrobes this year. By providing our scholars with professional attire, styling support, and a personal branding workshop, they feel more confident to excel authentically in future interviews, networking opportunities, and other professional events. This creates pathways for students facing adversity by offering support and opportunities for life-changing personal growth, with the ultimate goal of developing college-educated leaders who impact the world in positive ways.”
Power in Partnership
Many volunteers, including employees of The Travel Company, Visit Anaheim, and Taco Bell, gave their time to provide personal styling for each scholar. Taco Bell’s Business Resource Group, WomXn @ The Bell, partnered with Working Wardrobes to help with professional wardrobe support and provide Taco Bell “swag bags” for every scholar. Taco Bell Corp.’s Chief of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Officer, Katrina “KT” Thornton, spoke to the corporation’s alignment with this work:
“At Taco Bell, we believe in leading with action. We are proud to partner with organizations like Working Wardrobes and Simon Scholars, creating meaningful moments that will have long-term impacts in our community. We can’t wait to see how the career preparedness workshops energize and inspire these young scholars in college and beyond.”
The Power of the Ripple Effect
The impact of this collaboration extends far beyond just the individual scholars. As these young professionals enter the workforce, they carry with them the confidence, skills, and presence instilled by Simon Scholars, Working Wardrobes, and the individuals and corporations that make our work possible. They become role models for their communities, demonstrating that with dedication and support, barriers can be overcome.
Working Wardrobes’ ongoing partnership with Simon Scholars stands as a testament to the potential unlocked when organizations unite behind a common goal. Our collaboration is about far more than attire and skills—it’s about transforming lives, breaking cycles, and shaping the leaders of tomorrow. As these empowered scholars step into their futures, they do so with the knowledge that they are not alone on their journey toward success.