Erie women dress for success


Lauren Alfieri

After the presentation, guests at the Mercy Emissaries’ Fall Tea enjoyed discussion and a variety of snacks.

Lauren Alfieri and Abigail Rinard

On Sept. 27, the Mercy Emissaries hosted a Fall Tea to support Dress for Success Erie. The “Dress it Forward” event, which took place in the Mercy Heritage Room on campus, collected clothing, accessories and other items to help women in the Erie community.

Individuals who attended the tea had to bring one of the following items as their entrance ticket: gently used or new clothing, scarves, gift items, personal care products, costume jewelry or other similar items.

“Dress for Success Erie is a program of Mercy Center for Women, which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy,” said Mary Graziano, director of Dress for Success Erie. “We are an affiliate of Dress for Success Worldwide.”

Dress for Success Worldwide is an organization that promotes global change. It provides professional clothing to women, attempting to help them break the poverty cycle.

The creators of Dress for Success Worldwide believe that “addressing women’s needs is central to improving the quality of life for not only that woman but also her family, future generations and her community.”

Affiliates of Dress for Success can be found across the globe, with the Erie chapter being only one of many.

The mission of Dress for Success Erie, according to the organization’s website, is “to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools necessary to help women thrive in work and life.”

The Fall Tea included a presentation by Graziano, as well as food and conversation surrounding the issue of how to help women in Erie achieve success and recover from financial hardships.

The program envisions a “world where women do not live in poverty; are treated with dignity and respect; and are strengthening their families and shaping their communities,” according to the website.

Dress for Success Erie welcomes donations of money or clothing. The organizers ask that the clothing be in good condition and professional or business casual. Accessories, shoes and personal care products are also welcome.

Volunteer positions are also available to interested individuals.

Overall, the Dress it Forward event at Mercyhurst was a success.

“(We) are so very grateful to Dr. Alice Edwards and the Mercy Emissaries for reaching out to volunteer and do what we call a ‘Dress it Forward’ event,” said Graziano. “The collection of clothing, accessories and bath and body products needed for the women we serve was fabulous.”