People in Your Neighborhood: La Jolla aesthetician launches ‘career closet’ for homeless people seeking jobs
Faith Fernandez, who five years ago was living in her car, strives to instill ‘hope, confidence and determination’ by providing clothing and other job-seeking help.
La Jolla-based aesthetician Faith Fernandez knows the confidence that comes from looking one’s best. And she recently launched Face It Forward, looking to help people transitioning out of homelessness get a job.
The mission of Face It Forward, Fernandez said, is to instill “hope, confidence and determination” in people seeking employment by providing outfits, access to computers and printing services, help with resumé building, and conducting mock job interviews.
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Through monthly clothing drives, Face It Forward has collected an assortment of women’s clothing for its “career closet” of donated clothes that can be worn on interviews. But men’s clothing of all types and sizes is still needed, Fernandez said.
Clothing can be dropped off at the Face It Forward headquarters at 6986 La Jolla Blvd. or Fernandez’s La Jolla Skin Studio at 1295 Prospect St.
“Some [donations] are really nice and can be worn in an interview setting, and others are what we would consider ‘couch clothes,’” Fernandez said. “Rather than not accept the clothes that wouldn’t be worn at job interviews, we’ll take it all and our outreach team will pass them out to those in need.”
To find clients for the career closet (which is open by appointment only), Fernandez said she and other volunteers are reaching out to the local homeless community with clothing and hygiene kits.
“We want to build that trust,” she said. “There are so many fundamental things that most of us have access to — such as a warm place to sleep and food and water — that some homeless people don’t have. So they are going to focus on the basic needs instead of focusing on finding a job. That’s where we come in. We want them to get that sense of stability. We want them to know where to find us when they are ready.”
Fernandez has experienced homelessness firsthand. Five years ago, she was living in her car and feeling “shame and embarrassment” about her situation.
“I didn’t want my family to know how low my low was; it was horrifying,” she said. “I mustered up enough courage to ask for help. In that position, I felt so much guilt and shame that I didn’t know where to turn other than my family. But not everyone has that and feels stuck, so that’s where my thought started. We all need jobs so we can avoid living in our car. But it takes courage to go for a job interview. … So being able to instill confidence at such a critical time is a big need.”
Fernandez said she never thought that five years later she would have established her own skin-care practice and would be in a position to help others. She is using the Skin Studio to help the career closet by donating 5 cents of every dollar to help cover overhead expenses. She hopes to increase that number in the future.
Fernandez said she also would like to increase her volunteer staff that helps in conducting mock interviews, job searching and resumé building, as well as distributing hygiene kits and clothes.
All donations are tax-deductible. Learn more at faceitforward.org.
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