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OUS student’s capstone project provides clothes for women

PROCTORVILLE — Ohio University Southern senior Ashley Poff will graduate in May and enter the workforce. For her capstone project, she organized a clothing drive aimed to benefit women of all ages and education levels who are trying to do the same.

The mission of Dress for Success River Cities is promoting 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.

Poff, a paralegal studies major and the first-ever graduate of the OUS-Mountwest Community College partnership program, will see her “Ladies Clothing Drive for the 9 to 5” culminate with a fashion show at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, in the Commons Room of the OUS Proctorville Center.

“While a student at Mountwest I was overheard saying I wanted to get rid of some clothes,” Poff said. “The professor told me about Dress for Success. I’ve always had it in the back of my mind and thought doing this as my capstone project would be the perfect opportunity to do something larger than I would have gotten to do otherwise.”

The clothing drive lasted throughout the month of February. Donation boxes were placed at OUS’s Ironton and Proctorville campuses, Mountwest Community College, Huntington Federal Bank, Kroger, Harley Davidson and several other locations. Six car loads of clothes were donated.

“The models at the fashion show will be wearing the donated clothes, which will be given back to Dress for Success after the event,” Poff said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m all about women empowering one another. Tearing each other down is too counterproductive.”

Five models from the community ranging in age from 26 to 56 and sizes zero and up will display the clothing and reigning Mrs. West Virginia Amanda Duffy is the master of ceremonies. Jana Kitchen and Linda Merritt will be guest speakers and proceeds from the show benefit Dress for Success. Tickets are $10 for students and faculty and $15 for the public. Door prizes will be awarded and a silent auction with items from Longaberger, Scentsy, Mary Kay and others will take place. Refreshments will be served.

Dress for Success supplies job interview acceptable clothes for underemployed and unemployed women. Some articles collected by Poff were black and blue scrubs, business casual and business dress clothes, large-size women’s clothing, nonslip shoes, dress shoes, suits and jackets and accessories such as jewelry, hats and scarves.

The Dress for Success office is located at 1141 Fourth Ave. in Huntington. Qualification is income based and referrals from schools and other community organizations are accepted.