As I said before, I took Social Development and Social Justice this Interterm. This class involved many interesting field trips. In Wichita we visited this awesome place called “Dress For Success.” It was by far my favorite place. I thought it was almost perfect! I have to admit, before I walked in, I thought it was going to be a shabby little place with a lot of old, sub-par clothing piled up for people to take. Instead it was super organized and clean, full of beautiful dress clothes, and made to feel like a classy boutique. There were dress suits, dress skirts, purses, shoes, earrings, scarves, necklaces, and probably much more. This place does not just give women some clothes to interview in; it gives women a whole outfit and hopefully a huge boost in self confidence. Not that clothes should define you, but I imagine for many women it is hard not being able to look their best and it is easy to feel not good enough because of the clothing worn.
The women first get one outfit if they have a job interview, and then there are many more opportunities to get another set. It is not just a one and done kind of deal. These women are welcomed back to many meetings and events, and most of them include more outfits. All in all I was very impressed with this social service. Hopefully there is somewhere equally nice for men to go and get some clothing and hope.
Another place we went to was the “Breakthrough Club.” This is a non profit social and vocational program for people with severe mental illness. They focus on wellness and abilities rather than illness and disabilities. This place was really cool; they try very hard to make every one feel they are on the same level. They do not differentiate between “professionals” and “patients.” This program encompasses many areas for empowerment. They have work out equipment in the building, because they want to focus on the well being of the whole person, not just their mental health.
One other really cool place we went was a market-mall type thing. It was very easy to see the Mexican influences in this store. They had a lot of stores that were catered toward the Mexican culture. In one store they had an adorable little bunny! It was the highlight of my trip!