ROSEMONT, Ill. — Big Brothers, Big Sisters partnered with the Fashion Outlets of Chicago to give a handful of young people a free shopping spree to get their hands on some professional attire ahead of their upcoming internships.
“I’m really happy I get to have this moment,” said Malik McDonald, a senior at Evanston Township High School who has a corporate internship this summer. “When I show someone a first impression, I want to make sure I make a good one.”
McDonald has been a part of Big Brothers, Big Sisters for several years. The organization and the Fashion Outlets of Chicago gave each participating student $550 to spend on outfits for their future professional experiences, on top of providing a stylist to help them pick out their best looks.
“if you look good you feel good,” said Jeremy Foster, President of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. “You have confidence and that’s what we’re trying to instill, having confidence.”
The nonprofit has a long history of matching children with mentors who help build one-on-one relationships that lead to transformative opportunities.
“When we make a match, our ultimate goal is that every child realizes their full potential,” Foster said. “And how you do that? You need gainful employment.”
McDonald said the guidance of his mentor has been life changing.
“He gets me to do a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t do on my own,” McDonald said. “He helped change my life around.”
Moving forward, McDonald is weighing a future as a pharmacist or marine biologist, but first, he’ll be a summer intern with a fashionable start.