What does it mean to pay it forward?
At every Cinderella Project of Maine giveaway, they ask each girl who receives a dress to pay the favor forward by volunteering or doing something nice for someone else. Sometimes, even the simplest acts of kindness can end up meaning the world to someone. This year, to demonstrate the impact of paying it forward, WCAP’s Cinderella Project of Maine decided to take on a pay it forward project of their own, with the help of a few high school girls and some dedicated Cinderella Project fairy godmothers.
They learned about a group of girls in Venetie, Alaska (220 miles north of Fairbanks in the Arctic Circle) who when asked what they wanted more than anything, said a prom. None of them had ever had a prom before and when we asked if they were low-income, WCAP staff received an amused chuckle and were informed that most of the village makes a living by hunting and gathering.
Since Alaska is outside of the Cinderella Project of Maine’s service area, they knew they wouldn’t be able to help directly. However, they did know a large group of great Maine high school girls who promised to pay it forward who probably could and they did.
To find out just how much these dresses ended up meaning to the teens of Venetie (with a total population of 163 according to the U.S. Census Bureau), check out the Bangor Daily news article linked below. The article features a blog that was written by a former Islesboro, Maine resident named Keely, who blogs her experience as a teacher in Venetie and explains what it’s like to live there, away from her parents who live in Belfast, Maine. Her parents and their neighbors also helped to make this happen, which just goes to show what awesome things can happen when everyone gets together to help.