a part in her inability to control her addictions. Kim was referred to Dress for Success in Cincinnati in 2002 and reconnected with the Columbus chapter upon completion of her last prison term in 2008. She says Dress for Success provided her with part of her foundation and network and the Professional Women’s Group has been an influence as have the weekly meetings through the Women to Women program. She also credits the Center of Vocational Alternatives and the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for their help in providing her with a foundation of people and services that supported her while she was assimilating. Initially, she attended Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings a couple of times a day, but now, she attends meetings two to three times a week. The rest of the time, she’s at her fulltime job and is developing a stronger relationship with her family. Kim says she is winning her family and her life back by admitting to her mistakes and taking full responsibility for them. She wants others to know that it is okay to make mistakes. “Just make sure you learn from them and don’t do them again,” she cautions. Kim feels the biggest issue facing women who have recently been released from prison is not the drug and alcohol addictions, but rather, the struggles that occur after moving out of the half-way house. Finding a job, taking back the role of caregiver to children, finding a home and dealing with day-to-day stresses are the issues that tempt these women and are the hardest to overcome, she says. It’s because of that realization, her goal is to bring to life a vision to provide a place that extends beyond the half-way house and that is fashioned around a community. She would like to offer a store, child care, and a school that would establish a strong network of support that mimics what she has found in Dress for Success and other organizations. She would like to call her venture The Hughes House of Hope and Healing. Kim says swallowing her pride and asking for help were very difficult; but she considers her ability to do that one of her biggest accomplishments. She doesn’t think anyone can overcome the hurdles she has encountered without doing so, saying, “It takes a village; a network; a community.” - Linda Tulley women2women mentoring program Launched in the fall of 2013, the Women2Women Mentoring Program at Dress for Success Columbus connects established, professional women in the Columbus community with clients of the organization. Dress for Success Columbus understands that a woman’s career development is an ongoing process. Mentoring addresses the need for additional support during this time by connecting women with professional role models who provide one-on-one guidance to help women shape, pursue, and attain their career goals. Mentoring pairs work together in collaborative, group meetings to learn about various professional and self-discovery topics that will further solidify their own career growth, in addition to deepening their networking skills. The first group of Women2Women mentors and mentees was composed of 8 members, who participated in the yearlong mentoring program. These women deepened their relationships between not only their individual mentor and mentee pairing, but with all other mentors and mentees participating in the program. This collaboration of all mentoring pairs truly epitomized the importance of having a strong, professional network. Participation in Women2Women provides the clients of Dress for Success Columbus with programming that will ultimately teach them learned behaviors to help them succeed in the current work environment. Through this curriculum, mentees are able to witness first-hand how to navigate challenging career issues by learning from the pros. By having access to these women and by acquiring a deeper understanding of the professional behaviors needed today, the clients of Dress for Success Columbus can break down barriers that would once hinder them from reaching the next step in their career. SUCCESS LIVES HERE | 16

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