Nonprofit helps clients dress for success

By Mary Ann Albright, Columbian Staff Reporter



If you go

What: Step Into Fashion, a fashion show, dinner and silent auction benefiting Second Step Housing.

When: 5:30 p.m. Sept. 7. The dinner begins at 6:30, and the fashion show starts at 7.

Where: The Discovery Ballroom in the Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St., Vancouver.

Tickets: $40.

Info: 360-993-5301, http://www.second...; events@secondstep...

For most of her adult life, Krystal Templeton struggled with drug addiction and found herself gravitating toward abusive relationships. Those issues, though, are in her past.

Templeton now has a place to live through Second Step Housing, a Vancouver-based nonprofit that provides affordable housing, case management and life skills classes for women and families in Southwest Washington.

Through Second Step, she has found a support network and has taken classes to learn how to shore up her finances. As a result, she said, her self-esteem has improved.

“It’s kind of like a sisterhood,” she said. “You’re all coming from the same place, and you’re all trying to go to the same place. It’s very encouraging. It’s a very positive environment.”

Templeton is about seven months into a two-year program called Wise Moves. She has been focused on transforming herself on the inside, but hasn’t prioritized her appearance. That’s about to change.

Templeton was one of two Second Step Housing clients selected to receive makeovers. Her new look will be unveiled at Step Into Fashion, a fashion show, auction and dinner benefiting Second Step. The other winner is Alice Williams, a participant in Second Step’s Family Self Sufficiency program.

Templeton is excited for the opportunity to have her hair styled, her makeup done, and clothing selected specifically for her.

“Those kinds of things just get put on hold. It’s like my outsides don’t match my insides,” she said.

Helping women feel empowered and good about themselves is key to Second Step’s mission.

“It’s really a program about giving a hand up,” said Executive Director Debby Dover. “It’s about helping you become the best you you can.”

Several local businesses and service providers have stepped up to help the organization with its first fashion show.

Camas boutique Lily Atelier and Ridgefield-based Agave Denim are donating outfits for Templeton and Williams. They’re also dressing models from Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited in Portland for the runway show. Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, Battle Ground Mayor Mike Ciraulo and Battle Ground Deputy Mayor Phil Haberthur will take to the catwalk, as well.

Parkwest Studio in downtown Vancouver will provide hairstyling for the models, as well as for Templeton and Williams. Sherwood, Ore.-based Couture Bride Artistry by Tiffany MacDonald will do their makeup.

Dover is a client at Parkwest, and getting involved with the fundraiser was an easy choice, said salon owner Joni Deans.

“I’m excited to be involved,” Deans said. “Second Step is a great organization.”

She’s excited to see Templeton’s and Williams’ reactions to their new hairstyles.

Some styling help could “make them feel confident again,” she said. “It’s going to turn their lives around a little bit.”

Dawn Stanchfield, owner of Lily Atelier and the neighboring shop Luxe in downtown Camas, also was happy to get involved. She is donating items from Lily Atelier’s inventory to Templeton and Williams, and is working with designers the store carries to secure more donations.

For the makeover winners, Stanchfield is focused on putting together versatile ensembles.

“My goal is to provide outfits that are fabulous and flattering for them that are functional and versatile, that they can wear to work and dress up or down,” she said.

When selecting outfits for the professional models, Stanchfield will focus on highlighting fall trends such as cozy cardigans, lots of browns, leather jackets and boots, long and short coats, sweater dresses, lace and animal prints, she said.

She’s also excited to showcase some new Agave skinny cargo corduroy pants in brown and red that Lily Atelier will carry this fall.

“Love them,” she said.

Williams enjoyed seeing what Lily Atelier has to offer when she and Templeton, accompanied by Dover, recently went to the shop for a fitting.

Williams, who began Second Step Housing’s five-year Family Self Sufficiency program in June, picked out a blue dress, shoes, a necklace and black slacks, and the shop is ordering her a denim jacket.

Williams is looking for work, and having nice clothes and feeling better about herself will give her an edge, she said.

“It was uplifting. Putting on these dresses and just the experience of having these ladies around was great,” Williams said.