Located on the Paradise Valley Community College campus, 18401 N. 32nd St., the Puma Empowerment Center powered by Dress for Success Phoenix and the Puma Food Pantry is officially open and ready to offer services and programs. The mission of the center is to provide ways to support students and help them keep their focus and energy on education. The partnership is the first of its kind for PVCC, Dress for Success Phoenix and the Maricopa County Community College District.
The Puma Empowerment Center celebrated a soft launch in May and is now welcoming its official opening with the return of students for the fall semester. The free-of-charge resources provided by the center help address day-to-day challenges that can become a deterrent from achieving higher education and success beyond graduation. The facility helps men and women throughout the community by providing food security, as well as job procurement skills and services.
“By partnering with Dress for Success Phoenix, we are providing a service that will truly empower everyone who enters to leave knowing they are cared for, supported, and being set up for success,” said PVCC’s Interim President Jana Schwarz.
Dress for Success Phoenix is a non-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. Since opening its doors in downtown Phoenix in 2009, the organization has assisted more than 22,000 women. The new satellite facility on the PVCC campus enables the organization to reach more women and men in the community. At the Puma Empowerment Center, Dress for Success Phoenix provides career development services, such as job search preparedness, interview coaching, and professional skills training courses, as well as access to suiting and attire for interviews and employment.
“Higher education is at the cornerstone of career development and economic independence. The partnership with Paradise Valley Community College enables Dress for Success Phoenix to further expand our reach, bringing resources where they’re needed in the community,” said Tamala McBath, CEO for Dress for Success Phoenix.
PVCC’s Puma Pantry was created in 2017 and helps students overcome food insecurity, allowing them to focus on educational goals. Students have access to non-perishable food items and basic needs such as toiletries, hygiene products and cleaning supplies. In spring 2022, PVCC created the Little Free Pantry around campus, where students could grab a quick snack more discreetly.
The Puma Empowerment Center is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Call 602-787-6846 with questions or to make an appointment.
In addition to monetary donations, clothing donations are needed and accepted 11 a.m.-3 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. Sought after items include women’s blouses, dress pants, skirts, blazers, closed-toe pumps and flats, handbags, and jewelry, as well as men’s dress shirts, pants, blazers, neckties and shoes. The center also takes donations of unused makeup, shampoo, conditioner and deodorant.