‘Divine’ help provides much needed boost
For years, Margie Belluomo thought about applying to be one of the models at Dress for Success Wichita’s Sisterhood of the Divine Makeover.
“But my self esteem was so low that I was too embarrassed to apply,” says Margie, who at age 46 took a part-time job with no benefits to give her the flexibility she needed to care for her ailing father; he died and her husband left her six months later.
Margie, who had never been the family’s primary wage earner, needed a boost in her morale as well as her appearance to help her re-enter the work force.
Margie before and after the Dress for Success Wichita’s Sisterhood of the Divine Makeover
“So I decided that I’d just humor myself and send in my application anyway,” she says.
Weeks later, her prayers were answered. Bonnie Bing, The Wichita Eagle’s now-retired fashion writer, called to say she’d been chosen to receive a complimentary makeover and then show off the results at the annual fashion show and luncheon.
As a college graduate who had worked most of her life, Margie didn’t need the services of Dress for Success, which provides career apparel and employment programs to help women become self-sufficient.
But she desperately needed a new look to improve her overall well-being.
“Everyone was so kind and complimentary and generous,” says Margie, adding that it changed her outlook as well as her appearance. “I felt like an ugly duckling who grew into a swan.”
She was hired as a barista at the Starbucks at 21st and Maize Road — providing her with the benefits she needed — and continues to work there today.
Last year, Margie underwent a different kind of makeover.
In June, she celebrated her 50th birthday by getting her long hair cut so she could donate it to Locks of Love. Later that day, her doctor called and told her that she had breast cancer — news she says would have been devastating if not for the blessing of having been chosen for a makeover.
“The makeover was the turning point for me,” says Margie, who underwent treatment and surgical reconstruction and is now cancer-free. “Today, I know I’m OK — and that having breast cancer was just a little inconvenience. I choose to be happy every day and know that God has blessed me.”
It’s a blessing she continues to pay forward.
“I volunteered at one of Dress for Success’ Professional Women’s Group meetings and I regularly donate clothing to help other women in their job searches,” says Margie. “It’s such a worthwhile organization.”
Saturday, June 22, Wichita Marriott
Three women will be pre-selected for a free makeover at this year’s Sisterhood of the Divine Makeover, sponsored by Via Christi Health. Want to be one of them?
For more information about this Dress For Success-Wichita, go to dressforsuccess.org/wichita
Via Christi Women’s Connection
Via Christi Women’s Connection is a networking group designed to help women of all ages maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit through educational opportunities and networking events.
Membership is free and the benefits are many.
Women’s Connection hosts a monthly lunch lecture by a medical expert on a wide range of health care topics of interest to women. Members also can take part in quarterly ladies’ night out events, providing an after-hours opportunity for fun and fellowship.