The genesis of the L.A.M.P. Suit Bank came from the caring and concern of two of our very own mentees; Xavier Smith and Marshall Dodds. They approached Therese Dodds and Elvia Bedolla, from the L.A.M.P. Parent Auxiliary Council, when they noticed some mentees were not dressed in the required business attire for the monthly events. Sensitive to the potential reasons for this Marshall Dodds stated: “Xavier and I thought a suit exchange program would be a great idea that would help mentees who didn’t have suits. I, myself, have had some nice suits handed down to me from family friends, which has allowed me more variety in my business attire. My mom has also given suits to people. Our goal was to help anyone that needed assistance or just wanted additional clothing options.” The two mentees also felt that a suit exchange program would have far reaching benefits to the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program beyond this initial need. “It also helps to continue developing brotherhood and community by making sure everyone has business clothes,” expressed Xavier, “and shows my fellow mentees the importance of having a suit, not only to feel good but, to look professional while at the workshops.”

Having a formal process to encapsulate these ideas is a great new elemental addition to the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program. Hence, the officially named L.A.M.P. Suit Bank was born, where suits are donated by past and current mentees as well as other generous donors. Several of our mentees have been able to procure suits from the inventory, which is also made available at the monthly workshops.

In a partnership with Shaquille O’Neal and JCPenney, Elvia Bedolla successfully secured twenty (20) $150 gift cards in our newest enhancement to the program, allowing all our mentees to immediately dress and model Professionalism (the “P” in L.A.M.P.), irrespective of their prevailing circumstances. We are proud that, by way of this sponsorship, the immediate expression of our Professionalism pillar is secure for all our mentees.

The Gamma Zeta Boulé Foundation sends the warmest of thanks to Shaquille O’Neal and JCPenney for supporting our mentees and the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program, and we look forward to a continued and fruitful partnership.