Marjie Blassey ‘86
The doors of the Women Giving Back store open once a month with a singular goal in mind – to change the lives of those who enter.
Marjie Blassey ‘86 is the volunteer coordinator for this miraculous organization and works to keep the racks of clothes, shoes, purses and accessories replenished and refreshed.
The store works to support women and children in crisis by helping build their confidence and self-esteem. They do this by providing quality clothing that is either new or “gently used.” Familiar brands such as Loft, Talbots, Lilly Pulitzer and Valentino can be found in the aisles of the store.
“We are able to be picky. We can turn away the stained or ripped clothes and fill the store with items that will make a difference,” said Blassey.
One of the store’s greatest assets is its volunteer workforce. Contributions that a volunteer can make include sorting through clothes, being a personal shopper, raising money, coordinating a donation drive or facilitating a corporate or community outreach event.
“We are always looking for companies or organizations to participate in team sorting days at the store,” says Blassey. “This can serve as a wonderful team-building opportunity for any size group.”
Since starting in 2007, Women Giving Back has distributed over 300,000 items of clothing. The organization has influenced the lives of more than 23,000 women and 15,000 children from 100 shelters across northern Virginia.
“Women will enter the store for the first time and be extremely timid. Volunteers will approach them and ask if they need help,” says Blassey. “At first, the women say no, but once the client gets more comfortable, they start asking for guidance. There is a wonderful transformation of confidence as the day goes on.”
Blassey continuously shares her passion for this organization just likes she shares her passion for Radford University.
“Radford holds a special place in my heart, just like the store,” says Blassey.
Women Giving Back has an executive board and an executive council. The council is comprised of 10 professionals, one of them being Shay Onorio ’99, the president of Red Thinking LLC.
“You can immediately see how a day of shopping puts some pep in the step of these women and children, who so deserve it,” says Onorio. “Being on the board is extremely fulfilling, all of us with our unique skill sets and what we offer, setting the bar high for how an organized non-profit board can really succeed with flying colors.”
“I have received Radford alumni support in both volunteering and donations from across all decades,” says Blassey. “I am excited and hopeful to plan a ‘Radford Give Back’ night with my alma mater.”
Radford University also serves as the alma mater for Marjie’s husband, Thomas Blassey ’83, son, Cole Blassey ’12, and daughter, Chandler ’15, as well.
“The best thing about Radford is that we come back just because we want to come back,” says Blassey. “We enjoy the company of our former classmates, friends and the small town of Radford.”