This is a guest post by Jacqueline Perlman, founder and CEO of My Favorite Outfit.
I was standing across from a third grader at a school on Chicago’s Southside and noticed that her clothes looked worn out. I whispered to her, “Would it be fun for you to go shopping at school?” After she replied yes, I considered the market research portion for My Favorite Outfit complete.
A month prior to that exchange I had the idea to launch a nonprofit organization to address two needs for Chicago’s disadvantaged youth: clothing and self-esteem. My research had shown me that girls’ self-esteem plummets beginning in middle school, and this young girl’s response was all I needed to take the leap of faith and launch the organization. Today, My Favorite Outfit (MFO) has exceeded my wildest dreams.
MFO’s goal is to empower girls in grades 3-12 through self-esteem building and clothing donations in our signature pop-up boutiques. Every week we build a new pop-up in a low-income school across Chicago. Thirty girls are selected to attend based on good grades, a positive attitude, high attendance, and goal completion. During our time together, the girls learn to identify their key strengths and what they’re proud of, forge new bonds with each other, and shop for six free articles of clothing that bring out their inner-beauty.
For me, the most magical moments happen when a few girls decide to stick around and chat once the event is over. Maybe it’s because these moments are less structured or perhaps it’s
because not as many people can hear them, but it’s a time when students really open up. 12th grader Noemi decided it was the perfect time to spread hugs to the MFO volunteers and me and tell us how happy and appreciated she felt. It was a tearjerker in the best possible way!
In 2015, MFO worked with 11 schools, 206 students, and donated more than 1,000 pieces of clothing. You can see all that we’ve accomplished in our 2015 Impact Report. My Favorite Outfit wouldn’t be a success without all of the amazing people who have volunteered and partnered with us along the way – including Fashion Matters Chicago!
Jacqueline Perlman is the founder and CEO of My Favorite Outfit, a charitable organization with a mission to provide two basic needs to disadvantaged girls: clothing and self-esteem. My Favorite Outfit was born out of Jacqueline’s three passions: women empowerment, fashion, and social justice. Her love for life doesn’t end there. Jacqueline is an avid traveler, dedicated sister to three, and a student at Kellogg School of Management. More than anything, she thrives off of bringing people together for a greater good.