Saskatoon charity gives grads more than just a pretty dress
- Andrea Ledding | August 23, 2019
Not everyone can shell out for designer dresses at grad — and that is where the Princess Shop comes in. Graduate Jessica Sewap applied and was accepted to the program which provides grad dresses to those who might otherwise go without. She says the women at the Princess Shop program not only made her feel comfortable, but she was nominated for a scholarship and got to wear a second dress to the Glass Slipper Gala Event where she spoke to sponsors and supporters about her experience.
“The ladies there are really helpful, they make you feel at home, they make you feel comfortable. They want to make sure you're set and happy with what you've got before you're done your appointment,” explained Sewap, who enjoyed the entire experience after her application was accepted. “I never knew about the Princess Shop until I was in school, and last year my friend was graduating and went with the Princess Shop and that's when I first heard about them.”
Her instructor suggested she fill out an application, as she wasn’t in a position to afford a dress while single parenting and going to school. “I was really scared when I found out I was graduating [and had to find a dress]...when I found out about the Princess Shop, all my worries left me,” said Sewap, who had started to look for dresses on her own and realized she just couldn’t afford them. “When I heard about the Princess Shop, I was really excited.”
Sewap graduated from SaskPolyTech Grade 12 program in May of this year, and is waiting to start Culinary Arts in September, so she was thrilled to find out she has also been recommended for a scholarship through the Princess Shop program, and is awaiting further details. Not only does the program enhance, it provides support and guidance afterwards.
The dresses are afterwards returned to the shop for future use, and sponsors can not only donate dresses and funds for new dresses, but mentorship, scholarships, shoes, accessories, and general support. Costs include purchases, alterations, dry-cleaning of returned dresses, accessories, hair, make-up and photography, and the many other services offered, so support and sponsorship is welcomed, and female mentors are also invited to join the “Fairy Godmother” mentorship support program.
The website, theprincessshop.ca, has details and application information.
Since its inception in November 2007, it has impacted over 1000 young women and continues to grow. In 2018, 74% of the recipients self-identified as Indigenous, and about a third of the total number self-identified as being parents. The program impacts the whole family.
“My son is 12 and my daughter is 10. My daughter saw me walking across the stage for graduation and when I was coming off the stage, she came running up to me and said, “Mommy I'm so proud of you, I want to be just like you.” It made me cry, I said you're going to do it my baby — just stay in school.”