Jerri L. Rosen
One person can make an incredible difference. It all starts with a decision. Meet Jerri L. Rosen. Twenty years ago, this community activist and former advertising executive saw a need and without hesitation, she stepped forward to fill it.
Jerri and five of her friends were disturbed by the growing incidence of domestic violence. They decided to offer battered women gently used wardrobe items as a dignified way to elevate their self-esteem. Intending to host just one event, they gathered clothing and accessories, stored them in Jerri’s office, and planned the inaugural Day of Self-Esteem. The group served 67 women from six shelters that first year, providing a life-changing experience for clients and volunteers.
In 1991, Jerri founded a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Working Wardrobes for a New Start to continue the effort. Jerri recognized that there were countless women trapped in cycles of dependency and despondency, simply because they didn’t have the clothes or the skills to get back into the workplace after living in homeless or domestic violence shelters or halfway houses. She expanded the organization’s efforts to include training to help individuals return to work. Since then, generous individual and corporate sponsors have stepped forward to lend support and the organization expanded to serve disadvantaged men and at-risk youth as well.
Each year the organization helps thousands of people re-enter the work force. Days of Self Esteem have become exciting annual events drawing hundreds of volunteers. An extensive series of workshops has been developed to provide career coaching, teach presentation skills, and discuss values and ethics. A Cinderellas for Life event provides prom dresses, etiquette/posture, skin/health care and treasure mapping workshops to 500 underprivileged teens, changing lives not only for the participants, but also for hundreds of volunteers. Working Wardrobes now offers a year-round Career Center providing wardrobes and grooming services on a daily basis. The organization relies on donations of cash and merchandise. To generate additional operating funds, Working Wardrobes volunteers also operate three locations of an upscale resale shop, The Hanger (in Brea, Laguna Niguel & Tustin). Donations and volunteers are always welcome. Now celebrating its 20th year of empowering women, the Orange County-based group’s mission is to provide caring career development services to survivors of major life crises and make a difference in the community. To date, Working Wardrobes® has transformed more than 50,000 lives and has launched or supported similar efforts throughout the country.
Jerri has been honored many times with recognition and awards for making a difference in so many lives. In 2005, she was named as one of “10 Women Making an Impact” by OC Metro magazine and in 2008, she was honored with the 2008 Soroptimist Making A Difference For Women Award. Jerri is a passionate and inspiring speaker. At The WE Conference™, you’ll be moved as she reveals What You Get When You Give: Voluntarism in Action.
Please note: The donation truck for Working Wardrobes will be on-site at The WE Conference™ one-day symposium on Sat 10/1/11 from 6:45a-10:30a to accept donations of gently-used, clean clothing on hangers. (Gently-used shoes, handbags, belts, scarves, ties, watches, jewelry and other accessories for women and men are also welcome.) You’ll be able to drive in & drop off in a matter of minutes, giving you more space in your closet and allowing what you didn’t need or weren’t wearing the opportunity to benefit someone else. You will receive a receipt for your charitable donation. Your generosity will make an important difference in the lives of people looking to get back on their feet. Please plan to participate. Tax-deductible charitable gifts of cash or checks are also welcome. Alternatively, you may make a donation to Working Wardrobes online using a credit card at WorkingWardrobes.org.
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