This year, on February 21st, HOPE Mentoring was so proud to help host the very first “Dress Your Best” event at the LaPorte Juvenile Correctional Facility! Nine young women dressed their best and strutted down the runway, showing themselves and their peers how to communicate and dress appropriately for a future job interview.
The show began with one of the facility’s own students singing a beautiful rendition of Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb,” a song about overcoming challenges and embracing the tough journey it so often requires to reach a goal. As the students strutted down the runway, HOPE Leader Sarah Swank read a brief description of each student, highlighting their skills, goals, and personality traits. At the end of the runway, Warden Smiley presented each student with a certificate of recognition, a handshake, and a big smile for the camera.
Each student who participated in the show had the opportunity to tell the guests of the event how the day made them feel in the hopes that it would inspire their peers: “beautiful,” “powerful,” “brave,” “inspired,” were just some of the feelings mentioned.
After each student in the show had the opportunity to show off their professional yet fashionable outfits, HOPE’s director and creator, Dr. Theresa Ochoa, led the group in a thought-provoking discussion about goals, self-worth, skills, and how one’s past does not have to dictate their future. All of the students from the facility had the opportunity to engage in the discussion and share their goals and dreams for their own futures. It was inspiring to see such a range of skills and goals in one group: marine, business woman, cosmetologist, veterinarian, professor, social worker, and so much more. The show concluded with the same student singing “Try,” a song about not changing yourself to make others happy by Colbie Callait.
Those who participated in the fashion show will be given the outfit they wore in the show upon their release, and are encouraged to wear it to a job interview or other professional type event. Not only did this event encourage professionalism when picking out an outfit for an interview, but for behavior, personality, language, and communication as well. The students learned how to make eye contact, shake hands, vocalize goals and skills, and compose themselves in a professional and personal manner. By the end of the day, each student grew more confident in herself and had fun doing it!
The event was attended by the HOPE leadership team, along with HOPE mentors, facility staff, and members of the community.
Thank you to the community members who made donations of clothing, shoes, and makeup to make this event possible.
We are very much looking forward to next year and hope to see you there!