Enactus club ‘legacy project’ created to empower women

The local Enactus group is working on a “legacy project,” using the name of E-closet for a area being renovated in the old dorms on campus. The project is, in part, to collect business attire for women interviewing for jobs.

Enactus is a worldwide organization, according to Seward adviser Lisa Kennedy, and each chapter is responsible for devising a chapter project, and more specifically, a “legacy” project that Enactus could base its club on. Kennedy added that the E-closet would be built up each year, and that it is, in every respect, a women’s empowering project as well.

The purpose for the E-closet is to help women transition back into the workforce after not being employed for some time or for the first time. The process of getting women to the E-closet starts with organizations such as Liberal Area Rape Crisis Center, Stepping Stone Shelter, and even the Colvin Learning Center referring women back to it. From there, E-closet representatives meet with the women by appointment, and have a one-on-one meeting to get to know them.

Other advantages provided for women who visit the E-closet are help with creating a resume and hands-on practice with interview skills. Women who are referred to the project also make appointments with “personal shoppers,” who Kennedy described as “mentors from the community” or even team members from Enactus. The personal shoppers paired with the job seekers will help give them a complete head-to-toe makeover in regards to clothing, which also includes shoes, shape-wear, accessories, and purses.

Included with the make-over, Seward cosmetology students will also be providing a free hair and make-up session. Kennedy hopes that in doing all of this. the women who go out for an interview will go out with confidence. Kennedy added that once employment is secured, these women are welcome to come back to receive up to two weeks worth of clothing to mix and match. “Our goal is to keep encouraging them to stay in the workplace,” Kennedy said.

Enactus would also like to provide continued support by offering a women’s professional group. “All of the women that are helped through the E-closet will meet together at a minimum of one night a month,” Kennedy explained. Challenges, family transitions, and current work situations are just a few of the topics that will be covered in the support group. In addition, the women’s professional group will have member from the community available to partner with women who attend the support group. This member of the community will be go-to person for questions and concerns at any time. “That is the big picture of it all,” Kennedy said, as she wrapped up the details of the project. In doing all of this, Kennedy added that a major point of the E-closet was to make women feel “so pampered and so taken care of.”

Preparations for the E-closet are well underway. Members of Enactus have already gone in and painted the portion of the old dorm rooms that will be used for the E-closet. The old dorms were mostly being used for old storage, but Enactus has decided to make good use of them. Some decorations have been put up as well, but what will make the most difference is donations.

According to Kennedy, the E-closet is a monumental project and it will take a lot of help from the community as well to make it happen and keep it running. Enactus is currently taking donations and will be setting up boxes at places around town that will help. Donations can also be made individually and can be picked up or dropped off.

The E-closet will require clothes in all sizes and colors possible. In addition, shape-wear and undergarments will be purchased new with grants that Enactus has received for their project. Without a doubt, Enactus takes every part of their project seriously.

The grand opening for the E-closet will happen next month and will allow the public to walk through and even make donations. Kennedy will be the first to work hands-on at the E-closet and will eventually incorporate the assistance of students or volunteers to run the E-closet. “Ideally, if we help someone get on their feet and the E-closet becomes a business,” Kennedy said, “we will hire someone to run it full-time.”

Some of Kennedy’s classes on campus will also be lending a hand toward the project. Students in her marketing class will help create fundraising projects and they might even go to market and purchase samples of one-of-a-kind items. The purchased items would then be sold in the boutique that will become the front portion of the E-Closet.

Crusader photo/Jose Medrano Leaders in the Enactus project, Clara Cardova and Kaitlyn Carlile accept a donation from Al Shank that will be used to purchase clothing and needed items for women who are referred to the E-Closet.
Crusader photo/Jose Medrano
Leaders in the Enactus project, Clara Cardova and Kaitlyn Carlile accept a donation from Al Shank that will be used to purchase clothing and needed items for women who are referred to the E-Closet.