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How do you regain confidence after losing everything? In and out of recovery and jail, Nikki was in the battle of her life against drug and alcohol addiction. She lost custody of her children. She was ordered to jail, then to a treatment center. Everything she did was monitored and visitors were not permitted. “You eventually lose yourself,” recalls Nikki.
While in recovery, Nikki knew she needed to build a support system to help her break the addiction cycle and regain control of her life. Things began to change for Nikki one afternoon, when she attended presentations by local organizations about community service opportunities. That’s when she met Genevieve, the Washington branch manager of Dress for Success Pittsburgh.
Shortly after that meeting, Nikki began volunteering at Dress for Success Pittsburgh a few days each week, supporting the Washington branch operations by sorting clothing donations, coordinating special events such as the Semi-Annual FAB Sale, and helping to empower other women who were entering or returning to the workforce. Eventually, Nikki found herself in a similar situation, applying for jobs and seeking services from Dress for Success Pittsburgh.
After years of recovery and volunteering at Dress for Success Pittsburgh, Nikki regained her confidence. She no longer felt that she was at the mercy of drug and alcohol addiction and court-ordered restrictions. “Genevieve is a former parole officer who knew the struggle I endured every day,” says Nikki. “Without her support and Dress for Success Pittsburgh, I would not have made it through the program. I finally had a support system and a chance to start a better life for myself and my children.”
Reflecting on how far she has come, Nikki thinks back to that initial meeting with Genevieve. “I was very nervous reaching out to her, thinking that I had nothing to offer,” recalls Nikki. “But Genevieve’s support and the time I spent volunteering at Dress for Success Pittsburgh turned out to be a huge part of my success in recovery. I hope my story gives other women in similar situations the courage to reach out for help.”
After several years of hard work and dedication, Nikki is now able to hug her children again. Her next goal is to put her master’s degree in social work to use, but for now she’s making up for lost time with her children – and watching her daughter follow her example as a volunteer with Dress for Success Pittsburgh.