KAMLOOPS — When you hear the name “Cinderella”, it’s easy to automatically associate it with a fictional fairy tale that is out of reach for real people; or maybe even a pipe dream that is too good to be true for a just an “ordinary” someone.
Although I’m a huge advocate of pretty dresses and legendary shoes, beyond those things what Cinderella — a normal young woman in difficult circumstances — needed was love.
So when it comes to the Kamloops Cinderella Effect, don’t let the word “Cinderella” fool you. The Kamloops Cinderella Effect isn’t about finding Prince Charming or becoming a princess; it’s about a vision for a community that loves deserving individuals by meeting their real needs so that they can overcome the obstacles in their lives.
Say what you will about social media, but often in 2019, real friendships begin through avenues like Instagram. That’s exactly how I met Ginger Turley, the visionary, founder and drive behind the Kamloops Cinderella Effect.
After seeing what Ginger chose to promote through her Instagram platform —and, just as importantly, what she chooses not to promote — I was both curious and inspired. Subsequently, I met Ginger for the first time in person when we sat down for coffee so that I could find out more about the Kamloops Cinderella Effect.
“I need to be doing something that contributes to community and betters lives,” said Ginger right away. “This isn’t just a makeover and it isn’t for a profit. It’s about women helping women while being positive role models who give back. It’s about becoming the kind of woman you want to be yourself, a woman who others can look up to.”
Part of the motto of the Kamloops Cinderella Effect is to “give deserving women a day to remember”, which means recognizing worthy women in the community who have need and giving them what they need in that moment.
In 2018, the Kamloops Cinderella Effect’s first recipient was chosen: Marley Dean, a Grade 12 student nominated by multiple people who told extraordinary stories of her “generosity, kindness and the adversities and hardship she has overcome”. *
Marley will be receiving the gifts of makeup, hair, shoes, flowers, lashes and a custom photo shoot with co-coordinator Emily-May Photography and additional gifts to make her graduation both picture perfect and beautifully documented.
But did you notice something missing on that list? If the Cinderella Effect is Marley’s fairy godmother, then isn’t a grad dress central to the idea? As it turned out, Marley had already purchased a dress, so she asked that in lieu of receiving one, the gift of a gown be passed on to another girl in need —demonstrating exactly why Marley was the right choice in the first place. Ginger described the intention of the Kamloops Cinderella Effect as being, “a ripple of kindness that affects others positively”, and Marley isn’t going to wait until the clock strikes midnight to start making that happen.
“This is about recognizing and raising a different generation of women,” said Ginger as she described how her vision is already coming to fruition. “We want to spread as much kindness and support as we can. We want to inspire women — particularly young women on the brink of adulthood — to see that so many women are already doing a lot of good in their community every day, and they can too. That is my ultimate hope for this project.”
So is the recipient of the Kamloops Cinderella Effect always going to be a graduating student who receives the same package?
“Oh no, this is just the beginning,” Ginger bubbled. “This recipient was a grad and a makeover, but the next one won’t be! The project is taking on a life of its own, but the next individual will be someone facing a considerable hardship or illness. There are people with all kinds of needs: people who need meals because they are unwell, single moms who need support, people with mobility issues who need assistance, rides to chemo and a lot more… I have an aunt in hospice with stage 4 cancer who is nearing the end of life and I’ve seen first-hand how many mountains families have to move in a situation like hers and I want the Kamloops Cinderella Effect to be part of her legacy too because she helped teach me about recognizing strength in other women.”
Despite not knowing who it will be, Ginger, Emily-May Photography and those who have already rallied around the Cinderella Effect believe that whatever the needs of the next recipient may be, sponsors and the community of Kamloops will rise up to meet them. “This (movement) is something bigger than me now,” says Ginger. “This is about making a lasting difference — a legacy of good that inspires others to do the same.”
If you would like to be a part of the Kamloops Cinderella Effect, you can visit the Kamloops Cinderella Effect Instagram account or contact Ginger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post-script: Since the time of this interview, Ginger’s aunt, Bonnie Reilly, passed away. We send her whole family our deepest condolences as they grieve her loss.
*source: Kamloops Cinderella Effect Instagram account
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