The impact of our program extends well beyond graduation. It’s truly remarkable how unconditional encouragement and positive mentorship have a significant, life changing impact on a participant’s self-esteem and outlook on the future. Our students begin to believe that anything is possible and open their eyes to a new future and to opportunities they haven’t even dared to dream about before. This is the “Magic” of the Cinderella Project. One grateful mother wrote: “For my child, whom has had so many troubles in her youth, to even fathom that she would be alive and graduating, is amazing. The Cinderella Project gave my daughter a much-needed self-esteem boost and showed her that life can truly be beautiful. Thank you to all the volunteers of the Cinderella Project for helping these kids see the possibilities for a bright future and for sparking a light that seems to be lost in lives that can be consumed by darkness.”
It may surprise you to know that the most recent statistics show 25% of Canadian children live below the poverty line, and many of these children succumb to pressures that drop out of school early. Reasons for this are complex, but most relate directly to living in poverty. Students we help lead lives of invisibility and marginalization, face bullying and other forms of violence. Our goal is to build self-esteem, restore dreams for a better future, and ensure they feel included, understood and important. The Cinderella Project shows them they are courageous, valued in our communities, and that despite of the incredible struggles they face in their lives, they CAN achieve the milestone of graduation, and be rewarded and celebrated for their perseverance in the face of such overwhelming adversity.
We assist students through a variety of means including our Boutique Day, a day of recognition and self-esteem boosting, annual Achievement Awards, and mentorship opportunities. The Cinderella Project supports students who have overcome incredible financial, emotional and often physical obstacles to reach the achievement of graduation. Some examples of students accepted into The Cinderella Project include: students who are living in situations of abuse, neglect and violence at home and on the streets; new Canadians or refugees experiencing socio-economic hardship, and bullying in school; teen parents; those who are caring for parents (often with mental illness) or who are raising siblings; and, students who are chronically ill, physically or developmentally disabled. Students are referred to The Cinderella Project by their teachers, principals or social workers, then each application is reviewed by our executive committee. Boutique Day works to remove barriers and to celebrate our students’ amazing achievements. As one teacher wrote, “the fact that grad is now an option for [her students] and that they have the chance to feel like ‘all the other students’ is so important!”
The Cinderella Project provides several Achievement Awards each year. Most students referred to The Cinderella Project are not eligible for traditional scholarship funding, and the Achievement Awards are designed to recognize our students’ special needs. Past funding has helped students to attend school with childcare, to purchase tools for trades, and to secure adaptive technology for distance learning.
The Cinderella Project is a federally registered, 100% volunteer-based charity founded in Vancouver in 1999. Every penny raised goes to helping the students in the project. Our goal is to help break cycles of poverty by encouraging vulnerable youth to stay in school and complete their high school education. We work to encourage and recognize outstanding young people from across the Lower Mainland who reach the milestone of graduation despite overwhelming adversity. To date we have assisted over 3800 deserving young people.