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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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5 Benefits to Volunteering at The Princess Shop

posted by The Princess Shop    |   August 29, 2018 16:30

Volunteering at The Princess Shop provides so many life-changing opportunities for individuals – and we aren’t just talking about the 1,000+ at-risk women we have impacted on graduation day and beyond with our additional programming offering mentorship or scholarships… but the volunteers!

At The Princess Shop, our volunteers aren’t here to just do menial tasks (okay, about twice a year they will stuff envelopes), they are here to create the impact. This comes in many forms throughout the seasons of a year, but where it is truly special is through the opportunity to not just be a part of the impact, but create the impact through building opportunities, solving problems, an generating new ideas and goals.

There are so many benefits to volunteering at The Princess Shop, but here are a few key highlights:

1-Positive Team Culture – this is our secret weapon. We are all in this together to create the impact. Everyone’s ideas are welcomed to the table. In addition, this means no one is ever alone. We work as a team to complete tasks and keep the momentum moving forward.

2-Empower – through our positive team culture, volunteers at The Princess Shop become empowered to bring ideas to the table that will change lives. For example, Jasmine, our Next Chapter Program Coordinator, thought of the idea for a housing scholarship to assist with living costs for a Princess Graduate attending post-secondary schooling. The result? A full year free rent with Boardwalk. This idea emerged in autumn of 2017, and our first recipient of this scholarship got the keys to her new home August 2018.

3-Creativity – as a small nonprofit organization, we have the power to make our decisions to best suit the organization. This means we get to exercise our creativity skillsets when it comes to problem solving and idea generation.

4-Learning – interpersonal and professional skills are a major takeaway for volunteer team members. Part of this comes from confidence built through our positive team culture and putting into practice skills that make real-life results.

5-Fulfillment – again, being a direct impact on the lives of at-risk students as they prepare for graduation, post-secondary, career, and life goals, comes with direct fulfillment. We are so proud of our Princess Graduates when they reach that graduation day milestone, get accepted into post-secondary, or get a great job. We help motivate them at their dress appointments by sharing with them all of the opportunities to continue to be a part of The Princess Shop community.

Interested in joining us yet?  Visit this page to check out our amazing volunteer opportunities.

7 Reflections on Being a Real-Life Fairy Godmother...

posted by The Princess Shop    |   June 18, 2018 16:00

As we come to the peak of our 2018 graduation season and look forward to supporting our graduates in their next transitions through scholarship support and mentorship, we decided it would be important to hear from one of our Fairy Godmothers to share her experiences as a mentor in the Fairy Godmother Program.

Kayla Brien has a rich history with The Princess Shop. Starting with helping out for the Glass Slipper Benefit, to coordinating the Fairy Godmother Program, to becoming a Fairy Godmother and Board Member...

1)      What made you want to become a Fairy Godmother (mentor)?

Effective mentorship relationships enrich both people. Personally I wanted to dedicate time to getting to know a Princess Graduate, becoming a friend she could trust and to support her in her achieving her goals after graduation. On the flip side, I was also very excited about the prospect of having my eyes opened to new experiences and to learn new things from someone I may have never had the opportunity to engage with. 

2)      Why do you think it is important to mentor women at this stage of their life?

I have been very fortunate to have a strong network of support through the critical time in my life following graduation. This has played a large role in my personal growth knowing that I have champions in my corner ready to encourage me and help me navigate through the obstacles and roadblocks that show up in life. Every woman deserves that same level of support and encouragement, and I was excited about the idea of being able to provide that for a young woman.

3)      What surprised you throughout your experiences being a mentor?

After I hang out with Zoya, I always feel very inspired and uplifted. Although she has endured struggles in her life, she is always upbeat and positive and sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She has changed my outlook on life in a very positive and transformative way.

4)      What are a few key things you've learned by being a mentor?

Listening is so important. When you are actively listening you are establishing trust and respect in the relationship. Being present and engaged in your conversations allows for a person to feel truly heard and that they are valued. 

Have fun! Discover activities you like to do together and try new things! As important as it is to provide solid advice and guidance to a young woman, it is equally as important to share in positive experiences together. 

5)      What do you love most about your mentee?

I feel so fortunate for the friendship that has developed between Zoya and I. I have had the opportunity to participate in some of the most precious milestones of her life since I have met her; I attended her families citizenship ceremony, watched her cross the stage as a university graduate and grow from a shy, soft spoken young lady, to a confident, driven and fierce young women. I love that I have been able to witness this growth and to be part of her journey.

6)      Mentorship is a two-way street, so what benefits have you seen for yourself?

Mentoring allows you to bring out and develop key strengths in each other. I have had the opportunity to support and encourage my Princess Graduate to help her achieve her goals. However, in return, the experience has strengthened my leadership skills and my ability to communicate. My Princess Graduate comes to me to discuss a lot of big decisions in her life and I want to be able to help her make informed and confident decisions.

7)      What advice would you have for anyone looking to become a mentor for the first time?

Determine expectations and needs early on. Ask questions and be actively listening. The Princess Graduate has signed up to be in the program for a reason so take the time to really get to know her and about what peaked her interest in being in the program. It helps strengthen the connection early on and establish trust.

-end interview-

Thank you, Kayla! Your reflections are so appreciated and Zoya is lucky to have you in her life (and vice versa, as we have learned).

For anyone wishing for a meaningful mentorship experience, please apply as soon as you can and we would love to match you up! 


Not every mentorship match really has to match like Kayla and Zoya, but they sure make it fun! Here is a picture of Kayla supporting Zoya at our annual BBQ where Zoya won a scholarship! Photo by Joi Photography

The Princess Shop Sponsors
The Princess Shop Sponsors
The Princess Shop Sponsors
The Princess Shop Sponsors
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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