Sheng Moua

Monday, May 21, 2012


This past Sunday (5/20/12), Prince and I had the honor of being VIP guests for Working Wardrobes Women's Career Success Graduation.  Where do I start with this organization? My heart sings whenever I think of them and the person who originally started this amazing organization.  

Before I dive into what the event I attended this past weekend was about, I have to first mention what Working Wardrobes is all about.  First and foremost, it was founded by a woman! If you know my story, I personally struggled with the words "You are just a girl" with my own past and insecurities.  Immediately knowing that this was a woman founded organization, it empowered me even more.  I wanted to know who this person was and I made it a mission to learn more about her and hopefully meet her in person one day.  I knew this was an organization I was going to really enjoy volunteering with. 
(Below is an excerpt from their website along with a link). 

"Working Wardrobes empowers men, women & young adults overcoming difficult challenges to confidently enter the workforce and achieve self-sufficiency. We provide career training, job placement assistance and wardrobe services in an environment of dignity and respect.

Each year we serve over 5,000 clients from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, including Welfare-to-Work, alcohol & substance abuse, domestic violence, transitional homelessness, catastrophic illness and other life crises." (

I first volunteered with them back in 2006 when they had their "Dream Girls & Distinguished Gentlemen" Prom Event.  I was a student at FIDM and I wanted to volunteer for an organization that gave back to the community. I was also volunteering and doing internships elsewhere but being that I was still in Fashion school, I wanted to work with organizations that had something to do with Fashion.  I was referred to Working Wardrobes by my Activities Coordinator at FIDM, and it changed my life.  I had already obtained my MBA by this time and decided to quit my day job to chase my dreams.  We sold our house and my husband worked as I went back to Fashion school.  I knew that I had to make the most of my one year Professional Designation program at FIDM so that meant volunteer, volunteer and more volunteer work.  

I signed up alone and walked into the event not knowing anything but the fact that I was there to volunteer for anything and everything.  I was told that it was a pre-prom event for high school students and that was it.  I read up a little bit on the organization but had no idea what I was walking into.  Although I drove to the event alone, the moment I walked out of my car, I noticed how many other volunteers were there.  When I checked in, I was asked to pick a role.  I looked at the list and one of them said, "Personal Shopper".  I picked that role because that was one thing I knew I was good, wait, great at!  After the coordinators explained what it was they wanted us to do, the role I chose was perfect. 

There must have been over 300 high school students that day (or more).  Each of the Personal Shoppers would take a young girl and walk her around the gymnasium where they housed racks and racks of prom dresses that were graciously donated by the community.  Among the racks of prom dresses, were also donated accessories such as jewelry, purses, shoes and everything prom that came from local companies and boutiques. I noticed one of the jewelers right away, which was Cookie Lee. My cousin was selling Cookie Lee at that time so I was so happy to see that they took part in this amazing organization.  I met other volunteers from all walks of life such as corporate executives, nurses, doctors, teachers, other students and a few success clients who came back to volunteer by paying it back to someone else.  I was so touched by everyone's stories and why they wanted to volunteer for Working Wardrobes.  The moment I started to work with the girls, I knew this was an organization I wanted to be a part of forever.  The young ladies were so happy and appreciative of what we were doing for them by helping them shop for an entire prom ensemble in preparation for a prom they may not have been able to attend.  What they didn't know was how much of an impact they had made in our lives. I came from a low income family and I wasn't able to participate in many of the school activities because my parents couldn't afford the uniforms or couldn't buy me a specific instrument.  I knew what it was like growing up and not being able to do what you wanted to do.  Some of the girls I worked with were so humbled and so thankful for the smallest things.  Some were  a little shy and sometimes even scared to pick a dress while there were those that wanted to try everything..  I loved it.  My heart was filled with nothing but love and compassion and I never wanted the Personal Shopping experience to stop.  

Throughout the years, I've followed many of their events and I knew one day, I was going to return and be part of that family.  I reached out to them and they were so happy with open arms to embrace what it was I was able to contribute. I don't have a load of money to donate (btw, every penny counts and even the priceless volunteer hours do too!), but I do have an expertise that I could offer in return for what they've done for me.  I also have a "Dollhouse" full of clothes, shoes and accessories to donate! Among the few things I did have to offer, I also had a story behind my bubbly personality.  I was able to relate to many of those girls I helped back then and now as a woman, a wife and a mom, I am able to also relate to some of the ladies from the Self-Esteem/Career Success Workshops.  I had no confidence in myself, I hated who I was and I had no idea how to get myself out of this rut.  Fortunately I was able to eventually find myself through god, but Working Wardrobes was (and still is) a safe haven for others who needed them the most. This past weekend, I witnessed the smiles, the love, confidence and perseverance from these ladies that just charged me even more.  They went through a 6 week coaching session on how to get themselves back on their feet and into the real world. They learned skills on how to write and edit a resume, how to interview and how to dress for success.  The ladies were in a Fashion Show, had a before and after photo shoot and a graduation that was priceless.  It was a graduation of empowerment, acceptance, confidence and overall beauty from inside and out.  They had makeovers from volunteered makeup and hair stylists and they were fully transformed from the inside out.  Although it was clear that they were made up on the outside, it was even more clear that their insides were even more beautiful when they stood on stage to give their own testimony of their 6 week experience.  It was so invigorating to be in a room filled with so much love and positivity.

Before I turn this blog into a novel (which I can easily do.. I can't talk enough about this organization) I wanted to mention that I FINALLY got to meet the CEO and Founder of Working Wardrobes, Jerri Rosen.  My contact and friend, Allyson introduced me to Jerri as she just coincidentally came walking towards us and I just found myself falling into her arms, because I've been waiting to hug this lovely lady for 6 years! She had the biggest smile and the warmest heart there was.  I could have met the President of America and not felt the way I did for Jerri.  She changed lives, she gave hope back into people who had lost it all, she gave life back to men who thought they'd never be able to provide for their family again... Jerri is my hero, and she is a woman! I wanted to be her when I grew up and here I was standing (wait, hugging her) next to her and she was so humbled and ever so lovely.  Her smile just brightens up your heart even if you didn't know who she was.  Prince knew nothing about her and quickly felt the love that Jerri sprinkled everywhere she walked.  

The rest of the day was just as positive, if not more.  The other volunteers I met were students from Bolsa Grande High School, to the Director of The Phoenix House, Tasha Hollins ( Prince had never volunteered before so this was his first event to witness a change that he too am excited to be part of.  I was happy to be able to show him what made my heart so happy whenever I spoke about Working Wardrobes and the things they do for others.  Well, I know I've written a book and a half, so if you are interested (and I hope you are) in knowing more about them, please "like" them on facebook ( and go on their website to see if you could volunteer or donate to this amazing cause.  They have so many other events that you can take part in so make sure you check out their website! Btw, its been 22 wonderful years and Jerri originally started it from her garage... What an amazing story and an even amazing woman! 


I will have some collateral to share with you all at HMF this coming weekend if you have any questions about this life-changing organization.  See photos below of our amazing time as guests of this event.  

Prince and I are ready to go....  
We have arrived at Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley
I met the cute Flo, who also volunteers at Working Wardrobes as well.
She was our tour guide of the event. 
Allyson and I 
CEO, Founder and my hero Jerri Rosen
Flo and I doing our tour of the different stations at the school 
Look at me, always talking! Here with Megan and Allyson 
He's observing...  and feeling so empowered himself
Jerri and The Phoenix House Director Tasha Hollins
Lunch provided by The Olive Garden and served by
the wonderful volunteers from US Bank... 

Sorry, this photo is a little blurry but you have the idea of the many racks
they laid out in the gymnasium

The wonderful volunteers from Bolsa Grande High School 

The ladies looked amazing during their Fashion Show
The ladies got up to share their six week experience.. Their testimonies were so
touching and emotional. 
Congratulating the graduates!!!! 
We took off our tags but our hearts got so much bigger (see below) 
Need I say more?

Thank you Working Wardrobes for such an amazing day. We were so honored to be in the presence
of such wonderful and loving individuals. We can't wait for the next event!!

Would you like to spend a day with me and perhaps get to know me a little more?
You can.... Come volunteer with me!



  1. Wow, beautifully written Sheng! We were so happy to have you and Prince join us. Thank you again for coming and being a part of this special day!


    1. Thank you Allyson! We are so blessed... and I can't stop talking about WW. You'll be seeing alot of us!! :)

  2. Amazing... doesn't it feel good to volunteer. Love your story!


    1. Yes it is Kiss, you would have loved to be there with me! Thanks for reading my blog and now knowing about WW too.

  3. Maixee

    The designer I could relate to was Stacey Lo. Her message is simple but impacting to the individual. I embrace everything in my life, whether it be good or bad. I learn from it. You will face many obstacles and choices. The best thing you can do is to accept it, learn, and then be able to teach that to others. I also have many interests in life. I especially have a hard time deciding what career to go into but I value my options and i embrace my interests and hopefully it'll one day lead me to a path of contentment.