Suited for Success

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Mary Butschky ('01) helps deserving people make a good impression.

Nothing improves one's confidence and self-esteem more than the right clothes. For low-income people searching for financial independence through good jobs, having the right clothes for an interview makes all the difference.

Mary Butschky ('01) makes sure those who come to her look good on their big day. She's the coordinator at Suited for Success, a nonprofit organization under the aegis of Catholic Community Services. Suited for Success has provided interview and work clothes to low-income people looking for employment for 15 years.

Butschky runs workshops in which she teaches job seekers how to make a good first impression, keep a positive attitude and do well on a job interview. After each workshop, the job-seekers select interview clothes from the on-site clothing racks at no cost to them.

With a room full of business attire in all sizes, including everything from undergarments to overcoats, Butschky helps dress several hundred people every year who need a little boost.

Acquired mostly through private donations and grants, the clothes are available to people referred to the program from government agencies or other local organizations that assist low-income people. Butschky and volunteer helpers assist in choosing clothes appropriate for each person's age, body shape and work place.

"Most of the people are single parents trying to put a roof over their heads and food on the table and clothes on their kids. There's nothing left over for them," says Butschky. "The need is so great for low-income people, and they are truly grateful."

Butschky previously worked as a buyer for an international import company, but was looking for a change. She says this half-time job suits her. "It's a dream job for me. Every day I can help somebody," Butschky says. "Every one of these people is special. They're inspirational to me."

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of Terrain.

Section: 
Written by: 
Beth Luce / March 4, 2010
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, Associate Director of Communications, johnbjr@uw.edu or 253-692-4536