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My Year Volunteering at The Princess Shop

posted by The Princess Shop    |   December 29, 2018 10:32

Written by Heidi Anderson

I am very grateful for the volunteer position that I was given the opportunity to have over the past year at The Princess Shop. 

In December 2017, I was looking for a consistent volunteer commitment that I could take on that would be of a benefit to my community.  When I first heard about The Princess Shop I was interested in the idea that they are helping women in need and being apart of reducing and reusing grad dresses. Reducing and reusing are two concepts that I try and follow in my personal life. I love art and expression, but I feel like we live in an overly commercialized culture filled with so much stuff.  On further inspection I learned about the rest of the programs – it is so much more than a dress. If a graduate uses The Dress Program they gain access to other programs and attendance at the main events. There is The Dress Program, The Next Chapter Program and The Fairy Godmother Program. The full name of The Princess Shop is The Princess Shop Mentorship and Female Youth Development Inc. The Princess Shop mission is to create an enhanced graduation experience for female-identified students in need, and provide them with mentorship, support, and the tools to pursue success after graduation. 

My first meeting was overwhelming, and it took awhile to understand everything that The Princess Shop does, what was expected of me, and how the organization is run.  It takes a lot for this organization to run effectively. Thankfully, the rest of the volunteers and Karen Robson the executive director were patient and understanding. They were also able to adapt with me as I went through some life changes like a work scheduling change. I felt supported by these women and that they wanted what was best for me. This was a refreshing change as in many avenues in my life I have felt a sense of rivalry from my female peers.  I felt as if my volunteer contributions were appreciated! As women we should be all be trying to encourage one another and build each other’s self esteem. Empowered women empower women.

I took on the position of the Fairy Godmother Program Coordinator. I felt this was the right fit for me as I have an interest in and a background in education.  The Fairy Godmother Program is a mentorship program and it was sponsored by TD. An interested princess graduate is partnered up with a woman in the community that wants to be a mentor to a princess graduate. All the participants were interviewed and matched into pairs. These women keep in touch throughout each month. They are also expected to attend monthly activities that are put on from September to March. This season we have had a lawn games activity, a pumpkin painting activity, a skin care workshop with local business Green Tree Beauty, and a holiday party so far.

 

It was great to see the connections made!  Mentorship is a learning opportunity for the mentee and the mentor. Even though attendance was a struggle at times for the participants, it didn’t take away from the value of the program. It was clear that it was making a difference for the people who were apart of it. Having the program as an option available for those that want to utilize it, is a value in and of its self. Having someone that supports you and is your cheer leader in life is so important for your personal growth. Imagine never having that and then getting the opportunity to have that!  I love that each season past matches can continue to be apart of the program. My wish for the Fairy Godmother Program is that it grows. If you want to be a role model in a princess graduate’s life, please apply to be a Fairy Godmother as The Princess Shop will be seeking new fairy godmothers to join the program next season. 

The Dress Program

Being at dress choosing appointments, it is interesting to see all the sorts of people that use The Dress Program and what their style preferences are. The participants are encouraged to choose something that interests them. At The Princess Shop there is so many styles of dresses, shoes and accessories to choose from and you are encouraged to be you. I really liked complimenting the ladies when they found a dress and seeing how appreciative they were for the experience. My favorite comment from a graduate when choosing a dress and accessories was, “I feel like Beyonce.” 

 Graduation Days

On the graduation day it is a very busy and exciting time! The graduates can have their hair and makeup done and get professional photos taken.  Seeing the graduates light up is very rewarding for all involved. My favorite moment on a grad day was watching an elderly lady who was about to graduate and she brought her son with her.  She explained that over the years she wasn’t often able to make herself a priority and was very nervous for graduation. As she was done up and went to pictures, you could see the confidence in herself build. 

The Perfectly Pink Appreciation BBQ

The BBQ is a great time to gather with all the princess shop participants, their families and supporting community members. We had such a great turn out this year and almost all the food was eaten! There was even a bouncy castle for the children.  During the BBQ the recipients of the scholarships from the next chapter program were announced! This BBQ has been sponsored by a Fairy Godmother Kari Calder of Kari Calder Realty for a very long time which provides the opportunity for Princess Graduates and their families to attend at no cost.

The Next Chapter Program

The Next Chapter Program is The Princess Shop’s scholarship program. What I really appreciate about the Next Chapter Program is that it doesn’t matter how many years ago you utilized the dress program, you are still able to apply for the scholarships! If The Princess Shop exists, a past Dress Program participant is able to apply to those scholarships. There are so many great scholarship opportunities and learning workshops offered through the program. At the Glass Slipper Benefit this year a scholarship opportunity was bid on and $9,300 was raised! 

The Glass Slipper Benefit for Princesses presented by K+S Potash Canada

The Glass Slipper Benefit is the largest fundraiser event put on by The Princess Shop. Lots of work is put into this event and planning begins very early on every year. Sponsors and silent auction items are gathered from all around our community. It is very inspiring listening to the speeches given at the gala by past princess graduates explaining how the princess shop has impacted their life.  

If you are interested in going to the Glass Slipper Benefit, it is best to get your ticket early as it saves you money.

There are many fundraising events that are put on all year round by The Princess Shop like the upcoming cupcake contest held on January 29th of this year during the Nutrien WinterShines Festival. The Cupcake Contest is where bakers compete by creating a cupcake modeled off a dress from The Princess Shop and guests get to judge and decide what cupcake was their favorite. It’s only $10 to attend and sample all of the cupcakes.  The Princess Shop is always interested in different creative fundraising ideas, so they can continue to have the funds to run. 

Unfortunately, I cannot continue as the Fairy Godmother Coordinator as I will be moving out of the city and have travel plans in 2019. I will however continue to show support in the ways that I can. The Princess Shop is always seeking help in many ways from small to large commitments. Please reach out and contact them if you want to contribute in any way. 

I am approaching ten years since I graduated high school. At that time, I really did not see that much significance on the day of graduation. I viewed it in many ways just like any other day and that graduating high school wasn’t that big of a deal. As I have lived my life for the past ten years and reflected, I have seen the value in celebrating positive moments and successes in life. Life is simply too short not to celebrate.  

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140 Smiles, 140 Accomplishments, 140 Lives Changed for the Better

posted by The Princess Shop    |   October 2, 2018 15:36

by April Donauer

The trees are already looking bare, we have a couple of snowy days under our belts, and grad season seems like a lifetime ago. All the same, we would like to take some time and reflect on our 2018 Princess Graduates. They are strong, they are intelligent, they are brave, and they are GRADUATED. Here at The Princess Shop, we feel a sense of pride when we send out the dresses on grad days. Each dress belongs to a girl who has reached a truly special milestone and each girl has had her own journey. We celebrate each journey and congratulate each achievement. 

This past grad season was a truly remarkable one. What made it particularly special was that it could not have been possible without the support of our community. We had volunteers help mend dresses, volunteers assist in appointments, businesses that donated funds, hair services given, make-up services given, photography services given, and dresses donated. All this to say, The Princess Shop had been able to give back because so much has been given through the support of our community. Thank-You.  

One of the most breathtaking moments of grad season is when a graduate chooses her dress. Whether it’s sleek and low profile or jeweled and dramatic, each dress represents celebration. It represents a unique story, a unique style, and an exciting beginning. The celebration begins when the Princess Graduate comes to pick out a dress. Sometimes there is excitement in her eyes, sometimes fear. Excitement because she is planning to go all out, fear because she has never worn a dress and maybe it won’t look good on her. Nothing replaces the look in her eyes when she has found the dress. She is no longer fearful because she KNOWS she looks beautiful in the dress.

This year we had 140 dress appointments, 140 looks of nervous excitement, 140 success stories that represented 18 different Saskatchewan communities, and 140 Princess Graduates who have celebrated their achievements (in style). 140 represents the number of dresses that were worn to graduation celebrations this year but The Princess Shop is more than dresses. This year, our graduates received $32,000 of scholarships. They worked hard and are now off on new adventures. We also have new graduates connecting to mentors, connecting to community. 140 represents the number of dream chasers and hard workers.

Although back the school rush has faded, the pumpkin spice craze is upon us, and grad season seems like a lifetime ago, we want to say a special thank-you to our 2018 Princess Graduates. Thank-you for allowing us to be a part of your day. Thank-you for allowing us to sit next to you while you flashed looks of delight in that mirror when you saw how beautiful you looked. Thank-you.  

 

ps. You can be a part of this impact, too! Click here for more information on how to get involved.

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From a Volunteer's Perspective: The Princess Shop Experience

posted by The Princess Shop    |   September 10, 2018 14:34

Stepping into the role of Volunteer Representative is not what you would expect, or at least in comparison to my own previous volunteer experience, not what I expected.

It's been more than - and better than - I envisioned. Every week I attend a weekly meeting with a group of successful and motivating women. We're surrounded by beautiful donated gowns, shoes and accessories. We brainstorm, goal set, get off track for a moment and laugh, and are constantly re-evaluating every aspect of the organization to ensure we have a positive impact on not only our Princess Graduates but our community as whole. By the end of the meeting, were assigned chosen tasks to meet our goals and out into the community we go. We fundraise, network with donors and sponsors and build lasting relationships. 

While this is happening, me and other Volunteer Representatives along with individuals from our list of 'Helping Hands', conduct dress appointments which is by far, one of the most fulfilling duties. We simply consult with the graduate about her wants and needs for grad day and beyond. We outline the different programs The Princess Shop offers and ultimately attempt to be the bridge between adversity and prosperity. Once graduation season arrives, it's a whirlwind of wearing many different hats. We go from being a graduate's personal assistant to being a team player of the salons were in and out of. 

Every so often, were pulled aside by a graduate who feels graduation and everything that comes with this major achievement, would not be possible without the organization. Rather it was through lending her a dress, providing her with a scholarship or simply being a mentor in her life, we've alleviated hardship in more ways than one. We're thanked and told that we should be proud of the work we do. And when the graduates acknowledge our work and display appreciation for all that we do, it is only a bonus. Because I can tell you, that is not why myself or our team, volunteer for The Princess Shop. 

I volunteer because of everything I just shared with you. Though it is only a glimpse of the expectations and experiences that come with the position. If you read between the lines, it's quite easy to recognize that this organization pushes you to become better for yourself and the community. It's a doorway to seeing what community means and what our community offers. It's a way to feel empowered through empowering other women. It further develops various life skills that one utilizes in their everyday life. Skills such as Communication and Leadership skills. And it overall provides you with an experience that changes your life while changing others' lives

Chelsey is one of a group of amazing individuals who make The Princess Shop a magical place through their passion and dedication. Does this sound like your kind of crew? We are looking to fill some more roles and would love to have you if this post spoke to you. Click here!

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3 Upcoming Events You Don't Want to Miss in #YXE

posted by The Princess Shop    |   October 20, 2017 14:36

Hi everyone!  My name is Bonnie and I am the Fundraising Coordinator here at The Princess Shop.  I am so excited to share with you what is coming up for The Princess Shop in these last few months of 2017! 

To definition, a fundraiser is an event held to generate financial support for a charity or other enterprise.  For The Princess Shop, fundraising means providing a way to ensure the sustainability of our three programs: The Dress Program, The Fairy Godmother Program, and The Next Chapter Program.  Additionally, as volunteers, we are able to directly interact with Saskatoon’s community and many of the city’s incredible local companies through these events!  To get a taste for how The Princess Shop is supported, here are some of the fundraisers we have coming up in the next couple of months:

Pay It Forward Fundraiser

The Princess Shop was lucky enough to be the chosen recipients of Pay It Forward Saskatoon’s annual fundraiser!  Each year, this event is held to fundraise money for a local charity.  It is an incredible event that includes many activities such as networking, entertainment, food, drink, and silent auction!  As a bonus, the event will be Masquerade themed, so you are still able to have your Halloween fun!

Date: October 28, 2017
Time: 7PM-11PM
Location: Saskatoon’s Farmer’s Market
Tickets: $43.67 available through Picatic or in person from any Pay it Forward member or The Princess Shop!

For more information on this event, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/197834824059715/

The Princess Ryde

The Princess Ryde is an ongoing fundraiser that will be held on the first Tuesday of every month from now until March. 

Thanks to our friends at Ryde YXE Cycle Studio, you can now support The Princess Shop and go for an awesome workout at the same time!  The best part is that the class is FREE with a cash donation, and every month will feature a new prize to be won if you attend the class!

Date: First Tuesday of every month until March.  The next one is November 7th!
Time: 8:15PM
Location: Ryde YXE, 705 Broadway Ave
How to sign up: You can sign up for these classes ONE WEEK before the events. 

For more information on how to sign up, please visit Ryde’s website @ http://rydeyxe.ca/

The Glitter & Glamour Grad Fashion Show

Many thanks to Exquisite Fashions & Bridal for collaborating with The Princess Shop to hold a fashion show for all upcoming grads!  This show will feature beautiful graduation gowns that are available for purchase at Exquisite Fashion & Bridal!  Not only will you be able to see some beautiful dresses, you’ll also have the chance to win some incredible door prizes!  Stay tuned for more information.

Date: November 19, 2017
Time: Doors open at 2pm, Show starts at 3pm
Location: Sutherland Hall
Tickets: $10 advance tickets @ Exquisite, $15 at the door  

 

For more information, please follow Exquisite Fashions & Bridal’s social media pages! 

 

              

The Princess Shop Sponsors
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The Princess Shop
our location
12 - 1622 Ontario Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7K 1S8
t: 306-222-3311

Karen Robson, Executive Director

Office Hours:
Mondays: 9am - 12pm, 1pm - 6pm
Tuesdays: 9am - 1pm
Thursdays: 12pm - 8pm

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