Event aims to help women land jobs, change direction of their lives

Professional attire donated to women

An event held at Detroit's New Prospect Baptist Church aimed to touch the lives of women seeking employment.

Related: Women seeking job opportunities being offered professional clothing at Detroit event today

"The ladies really stepped up. Nice clothing, a leather coat," said retired Detroit police Deputy Chief Brenda Goss Andrews, who attended the event.

She could feel the sense of sisterhood in the church basement, where professional women's attire, including dresses, jackets, suits, assorted accessories, shoes and purses of various sizes were collected.

"They can come in here and shop like they are at the store. They're already dry-cleaned," she said.

On this day, any woman from anywhere can pick up an outfit and get dressed for success.

Andrews' beat is one that will always stay with her.

"It's very important because I actually worked sex crimes. I was a sex crimes detective," she said.

She'll never forget women traumatized by sexual assault and domestic violence and witnessed firsthand what one new outfit could do for a survivor.

"For me, it is very personal because I worked on cases where women were raped, and that is tied to domestic violence. You know, women are killed at alarming rates, even now, as the result of domestic violence. That all ties together," she said.

Members of the Metro Detroit chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives gave their time to help women in need.

There is a story behind every outfit that was donated.

"I've had a house fire. I was homeless at one time. I lost everything and didn't have anything," Detroit police Capt. Kyra Joy Hope said.

She knows what is like to be in their shoes. In May 2011, Hope was on patrol on the overnight shift when she got the call from someone who said, "Your mother is on fire."

The fire claimed her mother's life, dog, house and everything she owned.

"So I understand that place. Even though you're gainfully employed, there's a lot of things that go with that process when you experience such a loss."

Representatives from Allstate insurance were hiring at the job fair.

Everything was in place to help someone land the perfect job and change the direction of their lives.

"We're here, and we believe in you, and, hey, let's dress for success and let's nail the job," Hope said.

About the Author:

Shawn Ley

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.