Would you go to a job interview without planning your outfit ahead of time? Probably not.
It’s all in the presentation, and we don’t have to tell you that sometimes you need to fake it until you make it. That’s why Toronto’s Yonge St. Mission helps disadvantaged young adults look the part with their Double Take thrift store.
The shop offers everything you need when it comes to work clothes – from blazers and business suits to briefcases and shoes. All are gently used and affordable and the result of clothing drives like the upcoming In PURSE-SUIT Of Happiness donation drive, a joint Brookfield property initiative between Exchange Tower and First Canadian Place.
Happening September 22-26th, the drive asks all the fine business ladies and gents to donate their gently used suits, career wear, purses, briefcases and accessories. The clothing and accessories can be dropped off daily from 8-10am and 12-2pm at the Concourse level of First Canadian Place near Nine West. The first 25 people to donate during each drop-off season will receive a $10 thank-you voucher that can be redeemed at fashion and beauty stores in Exchange Tower & First Canadian Place.
Double Take is an employment initiative of the Yonge St. Mission in their efforts to transition youth into the workplace. Meaning, by extension, the donations will help in employment programs like Connecting Youth to Work and Next Step.
We caught up with Marianna Salandra, the Volunteer Resources Coordinator at Yonge St. Mission to hear a little more about the drive and the Connecting Youth to Work program.
Turns out she went through the program herself not too long ago…
Can you tell us a little more about the CYTW program at Yonge St. Mission?
The program involves eight months as part of a three-part placement. The first involves a two-week workshop that quite literally covers life’s essentials: budgeting, resume writing, anger management, housing, sexual health and what we call “the monkeys on your back,” or things that weigh you down. The second is a 10-week placement within the Yonge St. Mission, where the youth are spaced out throughout the mission in every role imaginable. The third part is a co-op type paid placement. I was outsourced to an insurance company at Yonge and Eglinton, where I worked as the National Data Support Team Assistant. It’s essentially a paid internship. For the first two weeks, you’re supplied with a per diem for things like subway tokens and lunch as well.
How did you find out about the program?
I was feeling a little down on myself, so my friend referred me to it. I had lost jobs myself and was feeling really unlucky and insecure about it.
What did the program do for you?
The program offered me a sense of job security and the confidence to know that I deserved to be respected in the workplace. I used to be shy and feel like I was not welcomed at corporate establishments. I was intimidated at first, in this quiet office tower downtown where you could hear a pin drop. I thought, I may be in too deep. But after the first month, I got an extension on my contract, so that gave me a lot of confidence.
What can we expect at the donation drive?
We can expect some amazing clothing and accessories to be dropped off – the men and women who work in the area have a great sense of style and they don’t wear a lot of the pieces anymore. It will go to Double Take, offering an affordable way to buy great things for the workplace.
What’s the best part about Double Take?
The clothing at the store is all of amazing quality. You’d be shocked. We have great blazers and shirts and there’s usually a sale happening in addition to the affordable prices. If there’s a sale, you can get workpants for $2. We have everything, even bridal gowns. We are actually the only store that steam presses their clothes.
What impact does the new clothing have on the participants?
The main thing the clothing does is make you look good. When you look good, you feel good. You no longer feel inferior because you look the part. A new outfit can really brighten someone’s personality.
Do you still shop at the store?
Yes! I still shop there; I love it.
If you’re doing some end-of-season closet cleaning, consider brightening someone’s day with those amazing finds that are otherwise taking up precious real estate in your closet.
To learn more about how you can get involved and make a difference, click here.