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Grant equips women with professional interview attire

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What would you do if you had a job interview and couldn't find the right thing to wear in your closet?

Most of us would head to a nearby retailer and fill those clothing gaps. But many women in Medina County don't have that luxury. First Impression now fills those needs.

Founded in December 2015 and led by a volunteer executive director, board and image consultant, First Impression's mission is to provide economically challenged or displaced women with business-appropriate clothing, tools and skills to help them make a positive first impression at job interviews.

Currently, no other Medina County social service organization offers this unique and valuable service.

The First Impression process works like this: After completing a brief questionnaire, a new client schedules a visit to First Impression and, with the help of a consultant, is fitted with new or nearly new professional attire for an interview. The client then keeps that outfit, which can include accessories like shoes and jewelry.

Some of the most needed items are foundation garments such as bras and shapers that many of us take for granted but aren't typically donated with other clothing.

A grant from the Medina County Women's Endowment Fund is helping to provide those needed items. In 2017, MCWEF awarded a $1,600 grant to First Impression to purchase undergarments and other personal items for underprivileged female job seekers.

Of the funding, First Impression board member Michelle Masica says, "It's difficult to receive funding for certain needs that are essential to the self-confidence of our clients. We're grateful the Medina County Women's Endowment Fund understands the impact those personal clothing items can have on a successful interview. It can make all the difference in the world."

First Impression community partners include VCS Salon & Spa and Legacy Hair Studio, as well as multiple social service agencies that refer clients. To date, First Impression has helped more than 40 women prepare themselves to re-enter the workforce with professional attire and interview skills, as well as additional resources to help them be successful.

Drop-off locations for donations of professional clothing can be found throughout Medina County.

To learn more and locate the nearest donation location, visit www.firstimpressionmedina.org.

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