The Links, Melbourne’s women’s centre, helps locals dress for success


Imagine that you are a single mother dreaming of landing a good job and providing a safe and happy home for your children.

Now imagine that you are also a victim of domestic violence. That you have to find a job after fleeing your home with nothing but your kids and your life – and that if the job requires casual clothes, you literally have nothing to wear.

This type of situation, and others where a woman might need appropriate clothing for the next step, are the reason for the second annual “Dress for Success”, sponsored by the Brevard Chapter of Links, embeddedin partnership with The Brevard Women’s Center.

The event, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 1 at the Women’s Center on Aurora Road in Melbourne, invites locals to donate gently used and clean women’s clothing, shoes, suits, dresses and handbags, suitable for job interviews. Plus sizes are welcome. Also needed: new cosmetics for different skin tones and cash donations.

Sierra Thompson is director of volunteer management and strategic initiatives for the Women’s Center, whose services include counseling, sexual assault services, victim advocacy, prevention, youth services and housing.

There is a great need, she said, for clothing options for women starting a new life and career path, especially those who might be unfamiliar with – and don’t have access to. – “business casual” outfits.

“We have people trying to make it on their own, and having this outfit could help them land a job; giving them confidence is super helpful,” Thompson said.

“Maybe it will increase their income so they can support their own household. October 1st being the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Monthwe thought this would be a great opportunity to let it be known that we are here to help anyone facing these issues and support them in any way they need.”

The members of The Links, Incorporated are pictured in 2021 at the premiere

As in 2021, the center is partnering for the event with The Links, Incorporated, an international nonprofit organization established in 1946. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary service organizations, with more than 16,000 professional women of African descent as members, in 299 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the United Kingdom. Notable names to join their ranks include Vice President Kamala Harris and Representative Val Demings.

The Brevard Chapter has served the Space Coast community since June 1979 and focuses on five facets, said Ena Leiba, chapter president: youth services; Arts; national trends and services; international trends and services; and health and social services,

“We would like to thank the community in advance for their support of this important event,” she said.

Dr. Ethel Andrews, a Viera-based psychiatrist, is a member of the National Trends Committee whose other three members are all lawyers. Like their colleagues at Links, they are committed to seeing women thrive.

A clothing drive on October 1 in Melbourne aims to put women in need of business clothes on the path to "Dress for success."

And the mission of the Women’s Center aligns perfectly with The Links’ core values: friendship, integrity, honesty, service, commitment, family relationships, courage, respect for self and others, responsibility and accountability, Andrews said.

Being able to “dress for success” can be critically important for job seekers and those deeply committed to their careers, she said.

So knowing that the clothing collected in the first year benefited women in need, there was no doubt the Brevard chapter would want to step up again, Andrews said.

“The Women’s Center has such an illustrious history of helping women who have nothing…maybe their husbands kicked them out. They’re beaten, they need a lawyer. They need a therapy, they need treatment. They need medical care,” she said.

“The Women’s Center has done so much for so long. …there are so many people in this community who have received help from them over the decades.”

Clothes can be dropped off from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays at the Women’s Center Counseling Center, 1425 Aurora Road, Melbourne, 32935.

Contact Kennerly at [email protected] Twitter: @bybrittkennerly Facebook: /bybrittkennerly. Local journalism like this needs your support. Consider subscribing to your local newspaper. See our current offers.



Comments are closed.