Kara Burns, Former Meth Addict Turns Her Life Around with Dress for Success


One of my favorite comeback stories is Kara Burns. You can’t imagine what it took for her to hit rock bottom, but her transformation story is truly inspirational.


Kara Burns: I just made bad choices, and I was very rebellious, and that was where the path started to go badly for me.


Erica Cobb: How did you end up in prison?


Kara Burns: I was indicted for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and I was sitting in a county jail in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. I just remember being on my knees, and it was me and it was God. Those in hindsight are the most precious moments, but oh Erica, they are the hardest. “Is my life over with? What is my daughter going to think about me one day? Is this it?”


Erica Cobb: You talked about wanting more for yourself, knowing that you were going to walk by faith and not by sight to what your next chapter was going to be. Take me through how you get there mentally, physically, emotionally.


Kara Burns: I received a referral to Dress For Success Denver, and that was the first step, so it was reaching out to someone and saying, “Hey, I’m a mess. I’m broken, I have no confidence, I don’t think I’m even employable.”

And they in turn believed in me at a time when I didn’t believe in myself, and they gave me interview clothing and interview prep, and made me excited about the job I could get.

I was asked to speak at a breakfast for Dress For Success about a year later, and at that breakfast, my whole entire life opened up. My employer, who I currently work for, which is Work Options For Women, they’re a culinary non-profit job training program in the city, she saw me speak and ended up interviewing me and offered me a job, and there was a dentist in that audience that day that said, “Oh, I want to help you,” and she fixed my teeth.

I could’ve never have imagined that I would live the life that I live today. A lot of that’s due to Dress For Success. They’ve given me confidence. They’ve changed my reality. They took someone who was just a felon, someone who thought that they didn’t have a future, and here I am four years later and I’m confident, I’m living a dream.