By Dale Woodard on April 17, 2021.
A local initiative is making sure high school students from lower-income families have the proper resources for a memorable graduation.
The Cinderella Project – now entering its fifth year and operated by MyCityCare – opened its doors Thursday with the program running until the end of May at the SAEA Multicultural Centre ballroom on 6th Avenue South.
“It’s a boutique-style experience for grads who come from lower-income backgrounds and need help with resources for grad attire, whether that be dresses, suits or shoes,” said MyCityCare director Jen Tribble.
“They book an appointment, like you would at a bridal shop, to come in. It’s mostly run by volunteers.
“There are a few MyCityCare that help out with the appointments themselves. They come in, they get a gift bag and they can bring in a family member or someone with them to do their dress fitting.
“There are over 400 dresses for them to choose from and for anyone interested in suits and tuxes, there is a large amount of things for guys’ formal wear. They get to select dresses and try them on and then we help them with alterations if they need it. We help them with hair and makeup appointments and professional photography sessions.”
Foothill Cleaners has been offering cleaning and pressing, while COSTCO has donated a Steamer.
As well, Bells & Bows and Chic Bridal Boutique have donated dresses.
“We’ve been building this for six years now,” said Tribble.
“So every year we get more dresses and people graduate and donate more. We started out in the first year with 12 students and the year before COVID we had 28, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s really impactful for those students who are part of the program.
“Each of those families coming in is getting huge value and it’s all donated.”
Of course, the ongoing COVID pandemic – which also affected last year’s Cinderella Project – and the uncertainly that goes with it has made it diffcult to predict the number of families who will take advantage of the program this year, said Tribble.
“With COVID it’s very unexpected and we’re not sure with the constantly changing regulations.
“We just stay flexible. It’s all appointment-based, so we do our best to make sure the only ones that are here in the space are the ones who need to be here to keep it all safe. I’m not sure if we’re going to see crazy-high numbers, I think the unpredictability with grad ceremonies and not being sure about whether or not there will be ceremonies also affects things as well.”
Still, Tribble encourages families to come down to the Multicultural Centre over the course of the next six weeks and register for the Cinderella Project regardless of what might happen with pandemic regulations.
“No matter what it looks like they’re still going to celebrate grad, whether that’s around their own dinner table or a drive-through ceremoney, it’s still going to happen,” she said, adding 18 graduates have already signed up this year.
“Even last year when we decided to do a low-key version at the last-minute and people starting opening up avenues to do grad celebrations, a lot of students were left with no options because the programs were cancelled.
“So we were digging dresses out of boxes at the last minute to help some of these students who were caught in a tough place. So we decided this year we were going to go full bore.
“So definitely book an appointment with us and we’ll get you in”
For more information or to book an appointment visit, http://www.mycitycare.ca/cinderella or email Carol at @myvictory.ca or Sara at Sara@myvictory.ca
Tribble said the Cinderella Project is still looking for more men’s dress shirts and men’s shoes.
Donations can be dropped off at the MyCityCare downtown office at 511 5 Ave South or at MyVictory Church.
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