2017 marks the 10-year anniversary for Dress for Success Central New Jersey (DFSCNJ), whose mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help a woman thrive in work and in life.

Founded in 2007 as Dress for Success Mercer County, the organization has seen tremendous growth over the past decade with a significant amount of growth taking place over the past two years since the appointment of Melissa Tenzer as executive director in December, 2015.

Under Tenzer’s leadership Dress for Success Mercer County added four additional programs, underwent a territory expansion and formally changed its name to Dress for Success Central New Jersey — seven counties. The result … a 292 percent increase in the number of services provided to women.

“Leadership is born when women are given the tools to succeed,” says Tenzer. “By increasing our programming and expanding our footprint beyond Mercer County, we are providing so many more women and girls the opportunity to reach for their dreams and become economically self-sufficient.”

Dress for Success Central New Jersey programs and services include an Image Enhancement Boutique, Career Center Services, Professional Women’s Group, Designing Your Future, Financial Literacy, Customer Service Excellence, Latina Empowerment Initiative, and Youth Mentorship workshops.

Women are referred to DFSCNJ by more than 100 social service agencies. The women who are referred to DFSCNJ are very often survivors of social issues including homelessness, domestic violence, or struggling with their economic situation. DFSCNJ’s goal is to empower these women to achieve financial independence. It all starts with a suit, but most need so much more. Without a support mechanism at home, it is almost impossible for them to work through the challenges of gaining employment.

Through its programs, DFSCNJ offers not only the knowledge and tools, they also offer the support that will build a woman’s confidence from the inside out. DFSCNJ addresses a critical unmet need within Central New Jersey by providing a holistic approach to connecting disadvantaged women to employment. The key to a woman’s success is economic independence.

Some words from DFSCNJ clients:

“Very empowering! I have been able to dream again. Being a part of Dress for Success has restored my confidence in myself. I am so full of hope and joy. I have a fantastic future ahead of me and I look forward to it!”

“Dress for Success helped me not only with material items needed for a successful job interview, but gave me the self-confidence to feel powerful during my interviews. The personnel who work for and with the organization are the most wonderful group of people and made me feel very hopeful about my future.”

“Being a part of Dress for Success helped me see again. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose and ambition.”

DFSCNJ is not supported by state, federal or Dress for Success Worldwide funding. In order to keep running its critical programs, DFSCNJ continuously seeks funding from foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors

To learn more about Dress for Success Central New Jersey or to make a donation, visit https://centralnewjersey.dressforsuccess.org or call 609-896-4112.

Help break the cycle of poverty.

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