Meet Eden Ferrer, a Sous Chef at Maite in Brooklyn, NY and longtime Dress for Success Worldwide Volunteer.
DFS: How long have you been volunteering for DFS?
EF: I started out at the DFS in Los Angeles, in West Hollywood back in 2011. I moved to NYC in 2013, and started volunteering here at the Manhattan location then.
DFS: What does Dress for Success mean to you?
EF: For me personally, Dress for Success means that women are here to form a sisterhood of support for one another. We should empower each other every day. No matter what your current situation is, a woman should always strive to uplift other women, because there is a little bit of me in all women. It is a circle of sisters supporting one another because we want the best life for one another.
DFS: What drew you to Dress for Success and why did you want to be part of the organization?
EF: When I learned about the program, I realized this was meant for me because as a young girl, I used to help other girls in my neighborhood that were less fortunate. My best friend and I would bathe, gives clothes to, and feed three sisters that lived by my grandparents and had an unfortunate living situation. Dress for Success brought back those memories and I knew I should continue that path helping women.
DFS: Can you describe the specific volunteer work you do at DFS?
EF: I am a personal shopper where I work one on one with our clients in the boutique. I find her the best options for interview or employment suiting and all the necessary accessories. After we establish her attire, I work one on one with her on career counseling for her interview or new job. I make sure that her resume is in proper format with no errors and run mock interviews.
DFS: Tell us a story of a client you served that stands out in your mind and that you are especially proud of? How did she impact you?
EF: I had a client that was working on redeeming herself from prior incarceration. She had been away from society for so many years and literally had start a whole new life from scratch. Her perseverance and pride she took in herself in her new chapter in life was very empowering in itself. She knew what she needed to do to get back her life and find a career. She was not looking back or letting any obstacle get in her way. I was really inspired by her grit, and that she chose Dress for Success as one of her paths to get where she needed to go.
DFS: Describe some of the feelings you have when you are working with a client and seeing that transformation first hand.
EF: When I work with my clients, I feel that I am helping out my sister. I want the best for her and I see myself in her. There is a tough love that only one can share with someone they want the best for. I feel protective over her reputation and the way the employers will form their impression of her when she goes to her interview. In that moment, my client is my responsibility and I will only do what is best for her.
DFS: What is the best part of being associated with DFS?
EF: The best part of my association with Dress for Success is knowing that I always have a place to go for advice and support. The cycle of selflessness comes from every direction within the company and I know that is there for a lifetime.
DFS: How has Dress for Success impacted your life?
EF: Dress for Success has helped me grow up as a woman. I started out at the age of 26, and now I am 33. It has made me learn to respect women and understand we all have our plights. It has helped me stay motivated each day to be a better woman, and always support other women no matter what. It has given me a purpose of a lifetime to uplift females everywhere.
DFS: Do you feel you are making an impact by volunteering at DFS? How?
EF: I have seen so many clients over the years come back for their employment suiting. I have had clients come back in and ask to work with me as well and that is a gift in itself.
DFS: What is your best advice to give to other volunteers?
EF: Try to clear your day, your head, and all thoughts before you come to your shift. Being distracted by the outside world isn’t fair to the clients that are there depending on you for guidance to a better life.