California Educator

February/March 2020

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e Cares Closet has shoes, accessories and a small dress- ing room and curtain. ere are sewing kits and hem tape for emergency alterations. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Recently students put on a professional fashion show for the campus with mini-makeovers that included hair and makeup. Morissette served as emcee and talked about how looking professional can help students attain their career goals. At first students were shy about ask- ing for help picking out professional outfits. So, to make the process less intimidating, Morissette hired student Jessica Rodriguez, who has a flair for style and connecting with her peers. Rodriguez was homeless at the time and now, thanks to her new job, can afford an apartment. "is has given me so much more than clothes," says Rodri- guez, who is studying psychology and plans to be a social worker. "is has given me so much support. It's really like a family." e Cares Closet has been instrumental in helping students get hired. Cesar Augusto Vizcaino Garay recalls that he had just one day's notice for an interview as a server, and no dressy pants or money to buy them. In a panic, he sought help at Cares Closet and landed the job the next day. "It was so spontaneous, and it really helped," says the third-year student, who is studying linguistics. Sociolog y student Earl Danzy, who was once homeless, frequently comes to pick out professional clothing for job interviews, like the jacket, slacks, white shirt and tie Rodriguez recently helped him coordinate. He looked so good, his peers joked he could be in GQ. "It makes me feel great and confident," he shares. "It gives me the courage to go out and get that job." "It's a great feeling to not only help my own students, but others who need a lit- tle help in getting their dream job — or a job that will get them through school," says Morissette. Yamilet Silva, a second-year international business student, believes the Cares Closet will help her land the office job she's always dreamed of. "I couldn't apply for a job in jeans and a hoodie, so this is perfect for me," she says, looking trendy in blazer, turtleneck and tailored slacks. " When I put on these clothes, I feel I will get the position I want for my future. I feel like I'm getting so much closer to my goals." Visit the website at Earl Danzy, Jessica Rodriguez, Yamilet Silva and Cesar Augusto Vizcaino Garay pose before and after makeovers at the Cares Closet. " To see them try on clothes that make them look professional, straighten their shoulders and become more confident is so rewarding." — Emily Lynch Morissette, Southwestern College Education Association 57 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 0

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