INDIANAPOLIS — Feeling down and not knowing where to turn for her next move, Maria Allen started walking through the streets of Downtown Indianapolis, wearing just her pajamas.
"I walked into this organization coming from [the] Julian Center. I was a victim of domestic violence," Allen said.
Her walk led her to the doors of Dress for Success Indianapolis.
"I was broken when I walked in. They restored my spirit, my belief within myself to believe that any adversity that any human being can go through as a woman does not put the definition on you as a person," she said.
That was nine-years-ago.
Now, she credits Dress for Success for where she's at today, working in human resources.
Dress for Success empowers women by providing them with professional clothing and accessories, but that's not all.
"We're so much more than just the clothing. We help women really go from the any job to the better job to the career job," Julie Petr, Executive Director for Dress for Success, said.
The organization helps women build resumes, fill out applications and prepare for job interviews.
"We do mock interviews and we also have a full financial literacy training program that we assist women with as well," Petr said.
Allen is still involved with Dress for Success as a member of the Professional Women's Group. The program helps women continue to develop their skills after they find a job.
Allen calls the women in the group her sisters.
"I can call them any time through any journey in my life, the good, bad and the ugly. They will stand right by me," Allen said.
In order to continue to support women like Allen, Dress for Success has a huge need for donations and volunteers.
They need everything from suits, pants, shirts and professional shoes.
"We need hundreds of volunteers all year long to assist us with everything from working in the back room, to serving on leadership committees, to helping women pick out their clothing for their styling appointments," Petr said.
Dress for Success also accepts purses and accessories, including jewelry.
Claire Noh, a high school senior, began making jewelry during the pandemic. She was looking for an organization that empowers women to donate jewelry to and that's when she came across Dress for Success.
So far, she's already donated dozens of rings and she's currently making even more.
"If my jewelry can make these woman even feel a little bit more happy or confident or excited to go to this interview, I feel like my work is completed," Noh said. "I just want to do anything I can to put a smile on their face and help them feel a little bit more beautiful."
Allen credits the organization with changing her life. She has this message for other women.
"If you are at a point in your life, that you want change, and to be given free tools to succeed in your dreams, this would be the place to be," Allen said. "It doesn't matter your background. It doesn't matter. There's no judgment when you walk through these doors, they will love and restore you."
Dress for Success is holding its biggest fundraiser of the year, Stepping Out in Style, on September 22nd at the JW Mariott. The event is presented by Landmark Recovery. WRTV is the exclusive media sponsor.
Tickets are still available if you want to support their mission of empowering and uplifting women.