By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Westborough – On Jan. 31, She's a Gem Boutique, 21 South St., Westborough, and the Women of St. Luke's (WOSL) will team up for their third annual Dress for Success/Worcester benefit. The free event, “Best Face Forward” (BFF), will be held in the atrium adjacent to She's A Gem Boutique from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
BFF is the brainchild of Westborough mothers Chris Farmer, Mary Christensen and Carole Judge.
Farmer, an executive career coach, had always been fascinated with Dress for Success and hoped one day for an opportunity to?use her resume writing, career coaching and branding skills to help disadvantaged women to re-enter the workforce.?The mission of Dress for Success/Worcester is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
In 2010, Farmer's dream was realized.
Farmer and fellow WOSL (a Catholic women's group affiliated with St. Luke's the Evangelist Church in Westborough) member Christensen approached their good friend, Judge (recent She's a Gem owner) about collaborating on a benefit clothing drive to help women at Dress for Success. Together, not only would they help Dress for Success, but with Judge's creative talents and proven expertise in “dressing her own clients for success,” the event would bring together the greater-Westborough community of women – parishioners, professionals and homemakers – to reach out and help marginalized women become equipped to re-enter the work force.
Farmer, Christensen and Judge, who have worked side-by-side on community outreach/service projects for more than 10 years, have been coined the “Three Musketeers” by 90-year-old Dorothy Orrizzi, the oldest WOSL member.
In November 2010, the women launched “Pearls Pumps and Purses” (PPP). During this event, Dress for Success Director Kaly Sullivan addressed a room of 70 women at She's a Gem and spoke about the opening and early accomplishments and suiting women for interviews at the new Worcester boutique for women who are unemployed or underemployed.
In November 2011, the women launched, “Fine-to-Fab in 5 minutes.”?The event highlighted Judge demonstrating creative techniques to take a simple wardrobe of professional basics and dress them up and mix and match for a variety of venues.
This month, the women will launch BFF. Judge and WOSL member Kathy Lawrence, TV and media make-up artist and licensed esthetician, will team up and demonstrate creative accessories and make-up strategies to accent the beauty of each women's individual facial features.?A veteran in TV and media print make-up, Lawrence has over 20 years of experience as a professional makeup artist and licensed esthetician. She has worked for Good Morning America and served celebrities including presidents.
For the Three Musketeers, the time and effort put into organizing and executing BFF is a labor of love.
“This event is a commitment to love our neighbors. Love, above all, is not a feeling, but an action. We are mothers who are demonstrating to our children ways to put our faith into action by serving our neighbors in need,” Farmer said.
“Being part of this event feels like the passing of a torch, allowing other women of all ages and all walks of life, a little ray of light, or sunshine, or hope after enduring so many difficulties,” Judge said. “What a wonderful feeling?it gives me to be able to relieve one more burden they face by offering clothing and accessories to help them on their path to a better life.”
BFF is open to all women. Donations of new or gently used suits (petite and full-sizes), professional accessories and purses are greatly appreciated. Fifteen percent of proceeds and event donations will benefit Dress for Success/Worcester.
“I can’t wait to see how many bags we fill this year,” Judge said. “I can only imagine how many women's hearts will be made happy and torches passed from our event.”