Local realtors help others get ‘Suited for Success’

(L to R) Monica Grado of George's Cleaners; Judy Cooperberg, MHA executive Director; L.D. Giles, MHA member; and Dave Slover, GAVAR president.

LANCASTER – Members of the Greater Antelope Valley Association of REALTORS® (GAVAR) have banded together with Mental Health America (MHA) and George’s Cleaners to donate more than 300 items of business wear to MHA’s “Employment Clothes Closet.”

The program provides gently used or new professional business clothing to adult MHA members to wear on job interviews and in the workplace.

GAVAR members donated more than 300 items of business wear.

“In today’s economy, it’s tough to donate as much as we’d like to, so it’s nice to know that we can still give back to the community in other helpful ways,” said GAVAR CEO Pamela Vose. “I, like so many people, have a closet filled with many clothes I don’t wear anymore but have been reluctant to give away.  However, knowing they are going to an extremely worthy cause inspires me to clean out my closet.”

The donated items were on display at a press conference Tuesday at Mental Health America’s Antelope Valley office.

“What these clothes mean to our members is that they get a better chance,” said Tina DeRienzo, MHA representative. “They get to feel good about themselves with their appearance.”

MHA member, L.D. Giles, said he was hungry, homeless and hopeless when he discovered the MHA program about 18 months ago. Since then he has gotten housing, went to job fairs, and secured part time employment through MHA. He said the clothing will provide him and other MHA members with a boost of confidence.

“It’s a great blessing,” Giles said.

“We sometimes take for granted the world’s simple pleasures around us,” said Rosy Garcia of GAVAR. “But when we hear stories and situations like these, we’re reminded of how blessed we are and the fact that we can bless others.”

Executive Director Judy Cooperberg said Mental Health America works with people who are hopeful of getting their lives back through education, housing, and employment. She said the clothing will allow them to provide another much-needed service for their members.

“A clothing drive such as Suited for Success helps remove a tremendous barrier for our members who don’t have an adequate wardrobe for interviews or work,” Cooperberg said. “It’s also uplifting to come together as a community to support one another through difficult times. We are deeply indebted to GAVAR and George’s Cleaners for this successful partnership.”

George’s Cleaners will provide a coupon to MHA members so they can have the clothing dry cleaned and altered for free.