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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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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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Our 10th Graduation Season a Success!

posted by The Princess Shop    |   August 15, 2017 11:30

"Thank you so much to everyone that helped me make this day truly special for me. When I first found out about the princess shop I never knew it was this amazing ! It was truly a day I will NEVER forget. I felt like a princess for sure and I got so many compliments on my make up hair and especially my gorgeous dress ! Thank you thank you thaaaaank you!" -Dacy, 2017 Princess Graduate

This June, we completed our 10th graduation season providing the Dress Program to 134 female-identified students graduating from school programs from 10 different communities across Saskatchewan.

Since the first graduation season in 2008, we have directly impacted the lives of 890 women on their graduation day! Some of these Princess Graduates have continued with our programs for mentorship (Fairy Godmother Program) and scholarships and skill development workshops (Next Chapter Program). 

We would like to express our sincere thanks to our sponsors for supporting our 10th graduation season:

Diamond Sponsor Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon

Emerald Sponsor Federated Co-operatives Ltd.

Ruby Sponsor Wright Construction Western Inc.

Friends: SIGA, Centennial 360, EY

 

 

Sponsor a Princess Graduate: Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation

Since 2010, we have had 65 mentorship matches in the Fairy Godmother Program! Some of these matches that are in the program today have continued from as far back as 2010.

Through the Next Chapter Program, we have been able to award over $150,000 in scholarships and bursaries, thanks to the amazing sponsors we have had contributing to this program. 

Most of our graduates are grade 12 students, however we honour requests from Grade 8s and post-secondary institutions. Our goal is to ensure that all female-identified students can attend their graduation ceremony and celebration stress-free, and then continue to pursue success in the next chapter!

It is more than a dress – everyone deserves the opportunity to recognize their accomplishments and participate fully in their graduation celebration. If you know anyone who would benefit from knowing about The Princess Shop (teacher, student or general supporter), please send them a link to our website!

Photography by: Wanda Keen Photography

Hair by: MC College

Makeup by: Spa Academy

Corsages: Blossoms Living

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The Princess Shop's Graduation Emergency Essentials Kit

posted by The Princess Shop    |   June 24, 2016 16:45

Here at The Princess Shop, we are making our way through our 9th graduation season with 130+ Princess Graduates in our Dress Program! We have seen amazing growth in numbers of women accessing the Dress Program, which lends out the dress and accessories to graduating women in financial and/or social need. Furthering that, for Saskatoon Graduates we can set them up with hair, makeup, photos, limo and corsage (Thanks to these amazing sponsors) to provide the enhanced graduation experience to mark the accomplishment.

Over the past 8 years (this year not included) we have supported 628 women for their graduation day. That means 628 women have attended their graduation feeling proud of their accomplishments, and equivalent to their peers. 628 women who might not have attended their graduation celebration at all, if not provided the opportunity to be a part of The Princess Shop's Dress Program.

That being said, we know a thing or two about graduation days: the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Whether you're reading this and you're a graduate, an escort, a parent, friend or a family member of a graduate, this is for YOU! We all want the big day to go smoothly, but we know anything can go wrong. It is our goal for our Princess Graduates to have a stress-free graduation day! Having been a part of so many graduates' big day, and accompanying them to hair, makeup and photography appointments, we have learned a lot about quick fixes, and how to be prepared in case of anything - and we would love to share this with you! 

Here is The Princess Shop's Graduation Emergency Essentials Kit:

  1. Safety Pins - these are a MUST for the day. They can temporarily fix anything from a shoe strap to a dress strap. They are small and can be thrown in a clutch easily! 
  2. Mini Sewing Kit - these are found at the dollar store and contain needle, different colour threads, mini scissors and a thimble. We love these kits because they are compact and affordable!
  3. Hooks & Eyes - throw a couple of these into the sewing kit. These are important pieces at the top of a zipper to take the stress off fastening the dress.
  4. Tide to Go Pen - a miracle worker for stains!
  5. Baby Wipes - an alternative to the Tide to Go pen. Last year a Princess Graduate got RED lipstick on her WHITE dress... Baby Wipes to the rescue! A nice gentle solution!
  6. Crazy Glue - the dollar store also has mini crazy glue tubes which is amazing. If there is something a safety pin can't fix, then saftey glue is your best bet!
  7. Bandaids - for when those heels start to hurt!
  8. Extra Bobby Pins - in case a piece gently falls out of your amazing updo!
  9. Q-tips - to gently touch up makeup throughout the day
  10. Granola Bar/Protein Bar - this one is important! During big, stressful days we tend to forget to eat or lose our appetite. However, keeping in mind that your energy needs to be sustained through the whole day, from hair and makeup to photos, to walking across the stage to receive the diploma.
If you want to go all out (and if you have the cargo room), you can add these items:
  • Oil blotting sheets
  • Mini can of hairspray
  • Ballet flats so you can really hit the D-floor!
  • Fashion Tape (double-sided tape)
  • Mini deodorant stick
Other words of wisdom? Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated; most graduation days take place end of June, which is known to be hot! 
 
Oh, and don't forget your banquet/prom ticket!
 
Happy Graduation Day to all!
 
Much Love,
 

How To: Become a Princess Graduate

posted by The Princess Shop    |   June 7, 2016 09:41

The Princess Shop is now in its 9th Graduation Season in Saskatoon! What does this mean? It means we have helped over 628 young women in Saskatoon and surrounding areas to feel supported, celebrated, and beautiful on their graduation days. 

If you are planning to graduate in 2016, we want to hear from you. What many do not know is that in addition to our Grad Dress Program, we also offer mentorship opportunities, and scholarship opportunities for all current and past Princess Graduates. If you are considering applying to be a Princess Graduate, here's what you need to know: 

1. Print off our application form and submit it to info@theprincessshop.ca (or drop it off in person)

2. Once we have received your application, Karen from the Princess Shop will contact you to book your dress appointment with one of our volutneers!

3. At your dress appointment, you will have the opportunity to try on your favourite choices of our massive selection of new and gently used grad dresses! 

4. At your appointment, you will also have the opportunity to choose shoes, jewellery, and handbag for your special day.

*All Saskatoon Princess Graduates will have hair styling, makeup artistry, photography, and corsage provided by the Princess Shop, and our wonderful sponsors!

5. Princess graduates are eligible to join our mentorship program, The Fairy Godmother program, as well as our Next Chapter program, which has scholarship opportunities that are available exclusively for Princess Graduates!

6. In addition to your graduation experience, The Princess Shop also holds three events annually that are great opportunities for you to meet fellow Princess Graduates, our wonderful volunteer team, and receive all of the support, and information you might need about our mentorship and scholarship programs! We encourage all Princess Graduates to attend!

The Princess Shop Gears up for the 9th Annual Glass Slipper Benefit!

posted by The Princess Shop    |   March 16, 2016 21:51

The Princess Shop is thrilled to be putting on the 9th Annual Glass Slipper Benefit for Princesses on April 7th, 2016! The Glass Slipper benefit is such an important evening of celebrating the success of each of our Princess Graduates over the years, as well as it's our biggest fundraiser of the year! At just over 70% sold out, ticket sales are closing in - but there's still time to get yours! Get your ticket before you miss out!

 

As we prepared for our big night, we sat down with our lovely and talented Glass Slipper Coordinator, Brittney Witte, to ask her what she's most looking forward to on our big night! "I’m so grateful to have the chance to coordinate an event for such a giving and unique organization. The volunteers I spend time with are all so caring, and beautiful inside and out, and it will be so rewarding to see the efforts of our time come to life for one magical evening", Witte said, "The Glass Slipper is going to be an elegant and exciting occasion sponsored by many fantastic companies. It takes the support of an entire community to put together an event like this". When asked the things she's most looking forward to, Brittney gushed about the live and silent auction with over 100 packages, catered dinner and dessert by Cakes by Kait, and entertainment by Mo’ LoveLastly, she said she's most excited for our Keynote Speaker. Cara, a former Princess Graduate is a persevering, strong, young woman with an amazing story to tell. We can’t wait for her to share her journey with all of you!


As a new feature of the Glass Slipper Benefit, we are so excited to have the support of Saskatchewan's own Hillberg and Berk jewellery company! Follow our facebook page and get your tickets today to find out how you can win 1 of 10 pairs of sparkle ball earrings, a $500 Hillberg and Berk gift card, or a luxury jewellery set worth over $895!!! 


For those sweet toothes in the crowd, Cakes by Kait is run by a very talented woman, Kaitlyn Bowman. Kait's baking is as sweet as she is. We can't wait to try the cupcakes that she's baking for the Glass Slipper Benefit, but for now, we'll keep the flavour a secret. :)  


The Glass Slipper Benefit is just 3 WEEKS AWAY and we are over 70% sold out! Get your tickets today to be a part of Saskatoon's most magical evening. And as a bonus, you can feel great knowing that your contribution is going towards providing graduation, mentorship, and scholarship opportunities to young women right here in Saskatoon. 

From Brittney, and the rest of The Princess Shop Team, we'll see you there! 

 

Princess Graduate 2014 Photos

posted by The Princess Shop    |   September 4, 2014 16:50

As the new school year starts, we are looking back about the gorgeous ladies we had the opportunity to meet through the 2014 Dress Program. Each of our 2014 Princess Graduates chose stunning graduation gowns and looked beautiful on the day of their graduation ceremony. We were so fortunate to have Wanda Keen provide in-kind sponsorship of the photography of our Saskatoon Princess Graduates for 2014. A selection of of 2014 Princess Graduates photos have been posted to our Facebook page. Head over to our page and check out these stunning photos. 

If you are a 2014 Princess Graduate and have not yet picked up your photos, please stop by The Princess Shop during Karen's regular business hours

We can't believe how quickly graduation season comes and goes! The Princess Shop team is looking forward to meeting all of the amazing young women that will be our 2015 Princess Graduates and doing it all again! Good luck to all of our past Princess Graduates as they continue on to post-secondary education or pursue other goals. And to our 2015 Princess Graduates - best of luck as you enter into the school year and we all look forward to meeting you soon! 

xoxo,

The Princess Shop

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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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