on friday i went to a highschool graduation ceremony – my first one! not having grown up in north america, and my older children having decided to skip grade 12, i had never been to one.
my first impression were the beautiful clothes everyone was wearing. where did all these gowns come from?
well, some of them came from a fairy godmother, that’s what i just found out. it’s part of the cinderalla project:
the cinderella project is a federally registered, 100% volunteer-based charity founded in vancouver, BC in 1999.
the latest statistics indicate that more than one in five, or twenty percent of all children in canada live below the poverty line. many of these children come from families with little or no formal education. without a high school education, employment opportunities are limited and this causes the cycle of poverty to continue.
the cinderella project was started to help encourage youth to stay in school and achieve the milestone of high school graduation, giving young people the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.
it is a magically simple concept; we know that youth in our community who are living in low income situations can not afford to celebrate the graduation festivities along side their fellow students and as a result many of them don’t see the value in completing high school. these students are referred to the cinderella project by their teachers, principals or social workers to participate in a day of recognition, self-esteem boosting and mentorship. on this day, “boutique day”, we provide these special students with formal attire so they can attend their graduation festivities with pride. without assistance these students could not afford to participate in celebrating this important milestone.
the cinderella project works to remove social barriers and promote inclusiveness and diversity. we recognize outstanding young people who have succeeded in the face of overwhelming odds and boost their confidence and self esteem through respect and positive mentorship. nearly half of all cinderellas and cinderfellas are chronically ill or physically or developmentally disabled. more than two-thirds of those students who are physically able to work juggle multiple jobs before and after school to help support their families. many are caring for ailing parents or raising younger siblings with little support. most have never had a childhood.
since its inception in 1999, the cinderella project has assisted approximately 1200 young people from around greater vancouver. the impact of the cinderella project extends well beyond graduation ceremonies. it’s truly remarkable how one day of encouragement and positive mentorship can have a long-term impact on a young person’s confidence, self-esteem and outlook on life.
image by whiskey gone bad