When money is an issue, finding the funds to afford things like a prom dress or clothes for a job interview can be a struggle. That's where Potential Me comes in to help.
The Baltimore based organization was created almost five years ago and works to help disadvantaged women in the city. They believe that by helping recipients take the next steps in their lives, whether that be preparing for prom, college or a job, they can help them reach their full potential.
“It started out with me just wanting to help a few people," said Kimberly Klacik, the founder of Potential Me. "There’s so many good people in Baltimore city that really got behind it and said you know what, I think what you’re doing is a great job and that was motivation itself."
Klacik started off just providing young women with prom dresses. She would collect donated dresses and give them to young women in need. When she brought donated dresses to Friendship Academy, some of the girls noted that some of the donated dresses were dated. That gave Klacik the idea to collect prom dresses and sell them on Ebay. With that money, she was able to take recipients shopping for prom dresses.
Over time, the organization grew when Klacik saw there was an even greater need. She decided to not just help young women in need of prom dresses, but all women going through financial difficulties in need of assistance.
“I decided then to collect donated clothing and this was anything kind of clothing. Anything that would sell on Ebay," said Klacik. "I was actually able to take these women shopping for career wear, I was able to get their hair done, their nails, their shoes, the whole nine yards."
“It’s an amazing organization. It reflects this acknowledgement that we have so many challenges in Baltimore but so many of them are connected to a lack of opportunity," said Thiru Vignarajah. “Potential Me recognizes that for Baltimore to be it’s best for Baltimore to achieve it’s potential, every one of its citizens needs to achieve theirs."
Over the years, Potential Me has helped over 50 women. Klacik says the organization has a 100% success rate so far with all of their recipients being either gainfully employed or went on to continue their education.
“When you see people getting the job and see the girls going to prom and they’re crying when they see their finished look. It’s rewarding just to be able to help people," said Klacik.