Midwest Professional Woman's Group Blog

Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group


For more information, contact

Ly Syin Lobster, pwgcap2011@gmail.com

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 13 percent of the homeless population is employed. A study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors revealed that 23 percent of the homeless population in more than 20 American cities are families with children.

Nov. 15–21 is National Homeless and Hunger Week, and a group of St. Charles County professional women–some of whom themselves once were homeless–is organizing an event to empower impoverished women.

Talk about paying if forward.

The Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women’s Group (PWG) is working on its annual community action project, “Yes We Can! Women Overcoming Obstacles,” that focuses on teaching homeless women about job search skills, technology available to them to aid in that search, and personal empowerment techniques. As part of the project, the group last month worked with First Step Back, a local ministry, and served meals at a St. Charles County homeless shelter in Wentzville. Resource information–as well as food and hygiene items–were distributed.

On Nov. 20, in observance of National Homeless and Hunger Week, PWG will offer a free workshop at the Dress for Success/Connections to Success St. Charles office, 1701 N. Second St. During the workshop, women will learn how to use mobile technology to help them find employment. Other workshop topics will include career/job search advice, personal finance tips and health.

“Empowering a community begins with empowering a woman and her family,” said Dress for Success Midwest PWG delegate Ly Syin Lobster of O’Fallon, Mo. “We want to encourage women to use online resources to advocate for themselves. Blogs and social networking sites are all accessible with mobile devices,” she said.

As part of the community action project, PWG launched a blog through WordPress (www.pwg2011.wordpress.com); the group can be followed on Twitter @stlpwg.

PWG also is seeking corporate sponsors and donations of personal hygiene or job search items. A full list is found on the blog, but personal items include toothbrushes and toothpaste, pantyhose or socks, make-up, soap and shampoo. Professional items include gas gift cards, pens, legal pads, portfolio cases, and flash drives.

“It’s our goal to build relationships with women by sharing our experience and knowledge,” Lobster said. “The women who make the membership of PWG have faced all kinds of obstacles–including homelessness–and overcome them.”

Dress for Success Midwest provides women transitioning to the workforce with business appropriate apparel. Dress for Success provides each participant with one suit for interviewing and another when they achieve employment. Since opening our doors in May 1998, Dress for Success Midwest has suited over 21,000 participants. Connections to Success aims to manifest the internal progress our participants have made into outward confidence.

For more information on available sponsorships or to make a donation to the community action project, contact the group at pwgcap2011@gmail.com.

Community project focuses on helping homeless women find jobs and homes

“Yes We can! Women Overcoming Obstacles”, is the theme for Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women’s  community Action Project (PWG).  PWG is helping change the  world by empowering  women in the community. According Hillary Clinton, “ When you empower a women you empower a family when you empower a family you em power and entire community.”  PWG is  having  a conference for homeless women in March 2011. The conference will focus on topics, career advice, women’s health and personal fiances.

The Community Action Project benefits  PWG members as well as participants. Dress for Success World wide challenges it’s affiliates to give back the community. Each women who is a member of dress for success has received assistance. The community action project gives the women and opportunity to give back to there community.   This year the women under  the leadership of  Professional Women’s Group delegate Ly Syin Lobster decided to help homeless women in the county.

Ly Syin Lobster knows what it’s like to be homeless and unemployed, which is why she is so passionate about Dress for Success Midwest and its Professional Women’s Group (PWG). With locations in St. Louis City and St. Charles County, Dress for Success Midwest provides women transitioning to the workforce with business-appropriate apparel. Since opening its doors in May 1998, Dress for Success Midwest has suited more than 21,000 participants.
“I was introduced to PWG after I returned to Missouri from being homeless in Atlanta,” Lobster said. “I found a job at a local call center. Working in a call center was very stressful and PWG staff and members encouraged me to hang in there until I found a better position at Edward Jones.”
Already, PWG members have volunteered to feed the homeless in Wentzville by partnering with First Steps Back Home Ministry, providing meals and gift bags with donated personal hygiene items. Lobster said the project’s goal is to move at least one homeless woman into employment and a residence.
“Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women’s Group (PWG) has empowered me, and the Community Action Project gives me and the other women who are a part of PWG an opportunity to give back to the community,” Lobster said.
She and her committee are working to gather sponsors, speakers, and transportation services to help homeless women get to an all-day conference that will be held at the Connections to Success St. Charles campus, 1701 N. Second St., in early 2011. It’s a challenge to secure donations and funding given the current economy, but the need to reach out to families in need continues to grow as the country’s jobless rate has been above 9 percent for 19 straight months, according to the federal jobs report released in November.
The other challenge for Lobster is managing a team of volunteers, women who work to support their families. Some women lack transportation to get to a meeting. For this reason, Lobster often utilizes technology–like free conference calling, e-mail and a blog (https://pwg2011.wordpress.com) to communicate with her team and potential project participants.
But Lobster is up to the challenges, thanks in part to her passion to give back and the training she’s received from PWG.
“In 2006, PWG staff encouraged me to participate in the leading ladies program. I learned a lot about leadership.  What I learned about leadership encouraged me to pursue more knowledge on the subject and into 2008 I attended and completed the Stepping Up to leadership program presented by Human Development Corporation,” she said.
Despite the task of pulling together meaningful programs and serving those in need within their community, Lobster and her team of volunteers moves forward, one day at a time. She’s often inspired by Hillary Clinton’s quote, “When we empower a woman, we empower a family. When we empower a family, we empower and entire community.”
“I have always wanted give back I just never thought the time was right,” Lobster said. “I realized even as I continue to pursue my career goals, I can began to give back. Through my involvement with the Community Action Project, I have found employment. My personal experience has inspired me to want to help the homeless women.”
For more information on becoming a sponsor for PWG’s Community Action Project, send an e-mail to pwgcap2011@gmail.com.


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