Lizette Etsebeth has a dream.
It’s not one of riches, fame, or travel.
Instead, the Langley City resident’s ultimate vision is to help make prom night memorable for Langley teens whose families are struggling to make ends meet.
But she needs the public’s help.
This past May, Etsebeth founded the Fairy Godmother Foundation, a registered, non-profit organization that collects donated grad dresses, evening wear and accessories throughout the school year, and then distributes them to Grade 12s across the Langley School District.
“I know how important grad is,” Etsebeth said. “That’s why I was so passionate about starting this. It was tough for me and I don’t want other people to feel left out because they can’t afford it.”
Etsebeth knows first hand just how expensive prom night can be. Her daughters graduated from Langley Secondary in 2010 and 2013, and at the time she was not bringing in a lot of money.
“I know what the cost was to try and put them through grad year,” Etsebeth said. “Grad cruise, photos, prom, the prom tickets… I just know what the cost was.”
But the foundation hasn’t found its feet, mainly due to Etsebeth’s busy 12-hours-a-day work schedule. What she needs is volunteers, storage space where she can store the donations, and in particular, a person who can step up and take a lead role in helping organize the charity and its fundraisers.
“I need the help,” Etsebeth said. “I need someone who is organized, who can be the front person basically, to say ‘OK, this is what we need to do going forward.’”
Last year, Etsebeth was part of the Total Makeover Challenge that “takes women through an inner and outer ‘Transformation Journey’ which encourages them to grow, evolve and be empowered.”
“It gave 30 ladies in Abbotsford and Langley the opportunity do a total makeover, basically,” Etsebeth explained. “It was for five months and there were three stages to the competition.
Part of the challenge, hosted by the Shape Your World Society, called for the contestants to pick a charity to support.
“We picked the Cinderella Project because we all felt it was a worthy cause to support,” Etsebeth said.
The goal of the Cinderella Project, a federally registered charity, is to encourage at-risk youth to stay in school and complete their high school education.
The project urged the contestants to promote a cause in Langley. That started the wheels turning in Etsebeth’s head.
“Langley needs something like this,” Etsebeth said.
Soon, the Fairy Godmother Project was born.
Donated prom dresses began to pour in — roughly 30 of them — to go with two suits, and before long Etsebeth’s closets were filled with donations.
“I need somebody who has the time to organize this, somebody with connections in the community that maybe we can get a space to keep all this stuff because right now it’s all in six different closets in my house,” Etsebeth said.
“I would prefer if we could have a space donated by a storage company where we can put everything, and if girls need help, we can say, ‘This is where you go where you can pick out what you want.’”
Etsebeth’s daughter Monique donated her prom dress, along with her sister’s, to their alma mater last year.
Monique said her mom’s efforts to help teens enjoy their grad is “amazing.”
“It’s nice of her to give back to others in need and I know that it’s very expensive around grad time,” Monique said.
Anyone interested in helping out can email Etsebeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.