One of the hallmarks of the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program is the requirement that Mentees model professionalism by wearing a suit and tie to all L.A.M.P. functions and activities. In Spring 2021, two L.A.M.P. Mentor Program Mentees, Marshall Dodds and Xavier Smith decided to start a Suit Bank for Mentees who may not have a suit to wear to L.A.M.P. Mentor Program sessions. Mentees who outgrew their current suits were encouraged to donate the suit to the Suit Bank and thus providing Mentees who were in need of a suit, the opportunity to obtain one.

While thinking of ways to expand the Suit Bank, Xavier Smith’s mom, Elvia Bedolla, secured gift cards by way of Shaquille O’Neal’s Mine O’ Mine and JCPenney partnership for mentees to purchase professional attire. She nurtured that relationship growing it into a commitment from Shaquille O’Neal and Mine O’ Mine Holdings to provide a Blazer for each L.A.M.P. Mentee to wear at special occasions.

When asked what the catalyst was for Shaquille O’Neal to make the Blazers donations, a spokeswoman from Mine O’ Mine Holdings stated, “Shaquille O’Neal’s mission is to motivate, support and assist young people to reach their full potential. The L.A.M.P Mentor Program and the rigorous life skills the workshops provided to the Mentees are aligned with Mr. O’Neal’s focus on the next generation. It is his pleasure to support such an endeavor with the sponsorship of uniform blazers that will identify these extraordinary young men as L.A.M.P. Mentees. He looks forward to seeing these leaders of tomorrow as they represent this Program and their communities”.

Upon receipt of the blazers from Mine O’ Mine and JCPenney, the L.A.M.P. Program contracted with Platinum Stitches, a Black-owned business in Pasadena, to embroider the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program logo on each of the blazers.

By attaching a quality embroidered logo to each blazer, each Mentee had an identifiable garment linking them to the Program. Each Mentee received his blazer at the annual alumni reunion.

We thank Shaquille O’Neal’s Mine O’ Mine company and JCPenney for their generosity by becoming the first external clothier for the Mentees.