Helping Students Become “Suited For Success”

Professional clothing collected and donated by the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors is sorted and cataloged as part of the new “Suited For Success” effort.

The generosity of many will soon be helping Onondaga Community College students dress for success. A large clothing drive spearheaded by the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors (GSAR) as part of the REALTORS Care partnership has helped the College’s Career Center create “Suited For Success,” a place on campus where students can go for professional clothing for an interview, job shadow, employer site visit or internship. “Our Career Services team was so impressed with this effort,” said Abbey Baird, Director of Career Services. “This collaboration will go a long way in helping students prepare for careers.”

Earlier this year when GSAR heard about OCC’s “Suited For Success” initiative the organization’s CEO, Lynnore Fetyko decided to take advantage of her network of over 1,700 members. She used GSAR’s weekly electronic newsletter to ask colleagues to donate professional clothing for students. She also created videos and sent them directly to members in the days leading up to the donation deadline. “Realtors are generous people by nature,” Fetyko said. “Their hearts are especially huge this time of the year.”

On the night of Tuesday, December 4, a van generously donated by C&S Companies pulled up to the GSAR office on East Taft Road to pick up what realtors had dropped off. There were boxes filled with more than 700 articles of men’s and women’s professional clothes, shoes, purses and accessories.

Once the C&S Companies van arrived at OCC’s Mawhinney Hall, it was unloaded and the boxes were carried into two rooms; one for men’s clothes and one for women’s clothes. A team of OCC employees spent hours unpacking, sorting and cataloging each item. The volunteers came from OCC’s Career Center and the College’s chapter of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges. Another supporter, Ritter’s Cleaners in North Syracuse offered to clean any items which needed touching up.

The result of everyone’s generosity and hard work is the creation of “Suited For Success.” Students who need professional clothing can stop in at the Career Center which is located in Coulter Hall, room C110 and a staff member will help him or her find what they are looking for.

This isn’t the first time GSAR has stepped up to help OCC students. The organization is also giving the Community Care Hub $7,500 annually to support the outstanding work being done there assisting students with a multitude of services.

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The Joy of Giving

Zakrey
Zakrey, a student in OCC’s College for Living program

It’s better to give than to receive during the holiday season. The actions of a kind-hearted student are proof of that.

Earlier this month OCC’s chapter of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) collected cold-weather items for those at the Salvation Army Women’s Shelter in Syracuse. The generosity of the entire campus community resulted in a carload of warm pajamas, hats, mittens, socks and blankets for shelter residents.

The spirit of giving was exemplified by Zakrey, a student in OCC’s College for Living program which serves adult students with developmental disabilities. Part of the students’ program includes earning funds and then taking trips to area stores to help grow their independence, learn practical skills and interact with others in the community.

College for Living students prepared for a trip to shopping mall Destiny USA to buy gifts for their families and to possibly get something special for themselves. The effort included researching the stores in advance, picking out what they wanted to buy, and figuring out how much money they would have to spend on each item and at each store.

Upon returning from their shopping trip the students proudly displayed their purchases.  Zakrey gave his bag to Amy Mech, the Director of College for Living.  When Amy looked inside, she saw that the bag was stuffed with mittens, winter hats and warm socks.  Zakrey said to Amy, “For the ladies.” Zakrey had noticed a flyer on a bulletin board for the Salvation Army drive. Instead of using the money he had earned for himself, he bought gifts for the women at the shelter.

Thank you to Zakery for reminding us all of the true meaning of the holidays!