SACRAMENTO – Senator Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, honored longtime mental health advocate Judy Cooperberg as his Woman of the Year. The Senate held a “Woman of the Year” luncheon and ceremony at the state Capitol on Monday, March 4, to honor each member’s choice for the award.
“Judy is an amazing woman and is very deserving of this recognition. She has spent a lifetime serving the people in our community who, too often, struggle to have their voices heard. Whether it is helping young adults with psychiatric disabilities, leading the community on efforts to address homelessness or helping our veterans, she has really done it all,” Wilk said.
“It is an understatement to say that I am truly honored and overwhelmed by Senator Wilk’s acknowledgement of my work,” Cooperberg said. “I have been blessed for the past 38 years to work for an organization that believes in recovery and the potential of people, despite any diagnosis.”
Cooperberg is the Chief Advancement Officer of North County for Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHA). Her many accomplishments, both professionally and personally, include:
- Responsible for the development of psychosocial rehabilitation programs for adults and transitioning young adults in the Antelope Valley since 1988.
- Leading force in the establishment and administration of the Homeless Solutions Access Center.
- Developed “Operation Healthy Homecoming” (OHH), a program to serve homeless and at-risk veteran families; coordinated and facilitated the Antelope Valley Veterans Alliance, bringing together agencies, organizations and individuals serving veterans.
- Formed the Law Enforcement Mental Health Training Task Force then launched “Tactical Approaches for First Responders,” an effort to educate and train every law enforcement officer in the Antelope Valley on mental health crisis interventions and communication. In under three years, 600 officers were trained.
- Service on several boards of directors, including United Way-Antelope Valley Region, Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, AV Partners for Health, Valley Oasis Domestic Violence Council, Palmdale Sheriff’s Booster, AV Hospital Advisory Board and the California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies. Membership in Lancaster West Rotary.
- Appointment by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich in 2011 to represent the fifth District on the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission.
- Induction as Honorary Commander at Edwards Air Force Base in 2013, working with the 412th Medical Group.
Her other achievements include induction into the 1990 Governor’s Hall of Fame for People With Disabilities; the 1996 National Mental Health America’s Clifford W. Beers Award; recipient of the Antelope Valley’s Athena Award for 2003; Penny Lane’s Blue Skies Award in 2008; the 2013 Jeannette Rankin Award from the League of Women Voters Antelope Valley and the 2014 Woman of the Year for the Fifth District of Los Angeles County.
In addition to her work at Mental Health America, Cooperberg is a private consultant, national lecturer, and a published writer and poet. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Science in Educational Psychology and is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner.
“When it comes to compassion followed by action, Judy is a star. She sees a need, springs into action, [and] engages other community organizations and members to work together to address a need,” Wilk said. “It is an honor to work with her on mental health, homelessness and helping our veterans. I am so pleased to be able to call attention to all of the good work she has done for the Antelope Valley and all of California.”