Smart Dressing on a Budget
Jocelyn Causillas, ’12, says that her life is much richer as a result of helping low-income women in Muncie, Indiana, look their best on a tight budget and become more marketable to potential employers.

She and her classmates in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences participated in Smart Dressing: Learning Lessons from the Past to Make Wise Decisions in the Future, a class and outreach program to assist unemployed and low-income groups within the Muncie community.

“It was a great experience to be a personal assistant, working one-on-one with a woman to update her business clothing,” says Causillas , a Fort Wayne, Indiana, resident who is studying apparel design. “Many women are not comfortable asking for such help and are uncomfortable trying new clothing on. Some really don’t want to take a chance and stay with the same type of outfit for many years.

“In my case, my client was really eager to start the process. We went to Goodwill to shop and had a great time. It only took us a few minutes to find clothing we could easily update, creating a nice modern look at a fraction of the cost of a high end department store.”

The students were led by faculty mentors Diana Saiki and Jinhee Nam, who were concerned about unemployment in the local community.

Determined to make a difference, Saiki and Nam have partnered with Muncie's TEAMwork for Quality Living, YWCA, and Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana.

“We wanted to lend a hand to women unsure of the latest styles and give them an edge in landing employment or improving their professional appearance without spending a great deal of money,” Saiki says. “Our students gained a great deal of valuable insight serving as personal assistants and then altering the clothes to bring them up to date.”

Since receiving funds in 2009, the two professors have launched an online exhibit and fashion shows.

“Our students did great job to choose nicely fitted clothes, and the selection at the style show was impressively professional. Business attire was amazing in the transformation,” says Nam. “The students consistently showed a professional manner throughout whole shopping experience and style show.”
More in Making an Impact
"We went to Goodwill to shop and had a great time. It only took us a few minutes to find clothing we could easily update, creating a nice modern look at a fraction of the cost of a high end department store.”

—Jocelyn Causillas, ’12