Creativity and innovation have long been hallmarks of the success stories at New Door Ventures. When TPG Capital wanted to meet a tangible goal to help youth with a one-time gift, New Door set up a first-of-its-kind interview attire shopping event.

The need is apparent: many New Door youth show up day after day wearing the same hooded sweatshirt and well-worn jeans. While appropriate for some casual work environments, their standard street wear isn't likely to win points with most future employers. To address this, New Door suggested a group shopping trip for all current New Door interns. TPG agreed; the need was concrete and a one-time gift could meet it.

Sticking to a budget of about $140 per youth, New Door offered 34 current interns and several recent program graduates the opportunity to shop for business clothing. Due to the deep discounts and wide selection of styles and sizes, New Door chose to shop at Ross clothing stores and arranged four dates during which interns could shop for business attire. New Door staff accompanied youth to the store to give them suggestions and feedback in choosing appropriate clothing for future job interviews. Several TPG staff also joined one of the shopping events.

“We thank the management and staff of Ross at Potrero Hill, for creating a special check-out line for our youth,” says New Door CEO Tess Reynolds. “Ross was extremely welcoming and supportive of this event.”

The shopping experience was overwhelmingly positive, as youth were able to leave with another resource to increase their chances at post-internship employment.

New Door and TPG staff were impressed by the youths' ability to stretch a dollar when the final tally showed that over 300 articles of clothing were purchased! One young man was able to buy four dress shirts, two pairs of dress pants, interview-appropriate shoes, black socks, a simple belt and a necktie while staying within the $140 budget. At the end of the shopping event, he rolled up his purchases neatly to all fit in his backpack. He told Tess, “I've moved so many times, I'm really good at packing.”

On August 23, youth in the summer cohort of the Ally program did their mock interviews with volunteers to help learn how to make a good first impression on a prospective employer. Thanks to TPG for helping them feel more prepared and confident, wearing their new interview clothes.

~ Carin Ward, Youth Development Specialist

Alberto in Ross Clothes, Courtesy of TPG

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