PALM SPRINGS, Fla. — As we get ready for a new school year, teachers need that first day of school outfit, too.
From spending their own money on supplies to inflation and salary concerns, their wallets are stretched thin. But a local non-profit organization is stepping in to make sure teachers look and feel their best.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education
Teacher Victoria Zingarelli is feeling good to head back to school.
"I wanted a dress and I wanted something I could wear to school or wear evenings out or a casual night," Zingarelli said.
Zingarelli on Tuesday participated in the Dress For Success Teacher Appreciation Program, which provides teachers with an outfit, accessories, and shoes, all to look and feel their best for the new school year.
"We think they need this tender love and care," said Joe Ann Fletcher, the executive director of Dress For Success Palm Beaches. "The pandemic has hit so many so hard, and we know that teachers don't get paid a whole lot, but they give their heart."
Fletcher said the program is full with more than 100 teachers booked. All items in the Dress For Success boutique in Palm Springs are donated from the community.
"I think it says teachers are really in need," Fletcher said.
Between the clothing, shoes, and jewelry, teachers are saving at least $100 at Dress For Success.
"This is just to give them a start and a boost and that motivation that someone cares," Fletcher said.
Zingarelli said it feels good to be appreciated and have that extra item in her closet, adding that it's not easy to make ends meet as a teacher in South Florida.
"I hope our state legislators and communities recognize that if you want to attract good teachers and keep good teachers, you are going to have to make it so they can afford to live down here. Because our children deserve that and those of us who have studied our craft deserve that as well," Zingarelli said.
Now Zingarelli has one less thing to worry about when school starts.
This is the second year Dress For Success Palm Beaches is doing the Teacher Appreciation Program and expects to continue to expand it next year. The non-profit organization is also running the program at its Belle Glade location.
For more information about Dress For Success Palm Beaches, click here.