Adventures in H-Town

For Tennessee newcomer in Houston, it's a Volunteer state of mind with Dress for Success

For Tennessee newcomer in Houston, it's a Volunteer state of mind with Dress for Success

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Volunteering is such a big part of my background, and I learned of two organizations that help women with professional wardrobes.
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Nancy Levicki, president of Dress for Success Photo by Gary Fountain
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Dress For Success opened in 1998, and the organization has helped 30,000-plus women, all whom were referred by one of more than 100 Houston-area agencies.
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Women of Wardrobe members Heather Pray, from left, Heather Domingue, Kristy Junco and Sarah Wicker Heather Pray , Heather Domingue , Kristy Junco , Sarah Wicker Courtesy of The PR Boutique
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Another cool way to get involved is to join Women of Wardrobe.
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Now that I have lived in Houston for several months, I can genuinely say that I have developed an even better appreciation of the qualities and quirks that make this city such a truly dynamic place to live. Moving here to be with my fantastic and "completely dug-in to Houston and never leaving" boyfriend RT, continues to be one of the best things that I have ever done. Some things things do work out for the best.  Whewww...

Since it took me so long to get here, I have tried to cram in years and years of Houston living in a very short time. Although this has made life pretty hectic, my frenzied pace has allowed me the opportunity to meet amazing people and try many new things of which I have written about in previous columns. But recently, now that I am hitting my stride, so to speak, I realized it was time to slow down and start giving back.

Volunteering is such a big part of my background and other than a few charity events that RT and I have attended where we made some smallish donations, well, I haven't really done much to give back. I decided it was time to take a break from racing from one new thing (taco trucks, tea houses, shoe boutiques, museums and art galleries...pant, pant...) to another and do something to help others for a change.

Thankfully, during a lunch with the super-savvy and very well-connected Lauren Levicki, I mentioned that I had been feeling selfish about not doing any volunteer work and that one of the groups I had considered working with in Nashville before I opted to pick up and move to Houston was Dress For Success. Well, doncha know, Lauren's mom is Nancy Levicki who just happens to be the head honcho (i.e. president) of Dress For Success Houston. Perfect!

One email later and I was ready to visit the Dress For Success office. I quickly met director of development Anne McAllister, manager of community resources Melinda Wood and Nancy, who much like her daughter possesses amazing charisma, confidence and a totally positive outlook on life.

As I toured the facility, I learned that since Dress For Success opened in 1998, the organization has helped over 30,000 women, all whom were referred by one of over 100 Houston-area agencies.  Each of these women expressed determination to pull themselves out of difficult economic circumstances and better their situations. DFSH provides clothing for interviews (and they are always happy to accept appropriate clothing in excellent condition) and offers professional development skills, networking opportunities and programs to address financial literacy, health and wellness concerns and many others. Very impressive.

I was relieved to learn that the construction of a new and much larger building is in the works. The new digs will allow DFSH to add crucial services to better serve the community. This is a group that I will definitely keep on my radar. Nancy and her efficient team know how to get things done.

Another cool way to get involved is to join Women of Wardrobe.This fun organization consists of about 200 young professional women under 40 years old, and came into existence in 2003. WOW supports DFSH through volunteerism and fundraising and really sounds like a very worthy group. They are hosting a Membership Drive event Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m at the office at 3915 Dacoma, Suite A. If I can find their place, so can you.

With the promise of tasty treats, pampering (Laura Mercier products anyone?), and pop up boutiques, topped off with a style show featuring Holly Thompson, what's not to love? Making new Friends + helping others = a very cool Wednesday night! Don't you agree? To learn more, go to the web site, friend them on Facebook, or call 713-957-3779.

Now if you excuse me, since it appears that I have moved to the desert instead of a city known for its humidity, I have to do something about my closet. And I think I know just what to do with the items that I wish to donate.