PicturePhotographed by Damahni Jackson.

Less than four months ago, Strawberry Resident Sherene Chen took the leap of a life time, jumping from running her Style by Sherene fashion consulting firm to becoming the executive director for Bloom, the renamed 17-year-old, San Rafael-based nonprofit Image for Success.

Since that time, Chen has looked to expand Bloom’s footprint by spearheading an organization that has a direct, tangible impact on people’s lives at a critical moment, providing free wardrobes and life skills training to men, women and families transitioning to a life of self-reliance and looking for a job, whether it’s a person just released from prison, someone recovering from substance abuse or a victim of domestic abuse seeking independence.

Bloom organized a vivid display of that work last week, when Chen and company visited the pre-K classes of San Pedro Elementary School in San Rafael to deliver much-needed new shoes. Bloom also gave each child a book and stuffed animal compliments of Kohl’s Cares.

“Most importantly, we were looking to put smiles on the children’s faces and allow them to get back to the business of being a child,” Chen says.

PictureMill Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Janelle Jacoban reads to children at San Pedro Elementary School. Photographed by Damahni Jackson.

San Pedro’s Pre-K students are part of the Pre-K to 3rd Grade Initiative funded by The Marin Community Foundation (MCF), a five-year countywide collaborative effort designed to close the achievement gap by focusing on early literacy, a precursor to academic success in Marin schools. San Pedro Element school officials Ana Becerra and Maria Velarde helped make the project a reality, along with Bloom’s Children’s Boutique Manager Tamra Phillips. Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Janelle Jacoban helped to pass out the shoes and read two stories to the classes.

“It was a blessing to be there for them, to see how a small gift could make such a big difference in their day,” Jacoban says. “Being a part of their appreciation and joy was a great reward for me.”


Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!