Sixth Annual Project Cinderella

Project Cinderella Helps Youth Achieve Prom Elegance

Project Cinderella invites the Tyler community to support the sixth annual campaign to gather formal wear to help youth in foster care attend the 2018 prom organized by BCFS Health and Human Services-Tyler. Project Cinderella seeks donations of evening gowns, shoes, jewelry, or monetary donations to help with tuxedo rentals or the purchase of shoes and accessories.

Project Cinderella is an annual effort by BCFS-Tyler that helps youth from foster care and those who have experienced abuse or neglect enjoy the tradition of a high school prom. Tyler community partners Brides and Belles and The Men’s Wearhouse are again helping youth in foster care obtain evening gowns, tuxedos, and fashion accessories to ensure youth look their absolute best for prom. To complete the formal looks, Project Cinderella is reaching out to the Tyler community for help. A gift of $25 can provide a tuxedo rental or enable a youth to shop for his or her own accessories or shoes to celebrate prom exquisitely dressed. Gently used ladies’ shoes and jewelry are also on the wish list.

“Project Cinderella and the prom event make a lasting impression on our youth,” explains BCFS Director Carla McCalope. “Many of them have grown up facing very challenging obstacles, so we work to reinforce positive self-image, strong self-confidence, and to let them know that they are loved. The Tyler community has fiercely supported our past prom events, and we hope this year will be no exception.”

BCFS-Tyler provides youth from foster care and those struggling to transition to adulthood with a support system they can count on, and the tools to become self-sufficient, positive contributors to the community. Often, youth in our care have dropped out of high school, but through our services pursue alternative means to education, including charter schools, GED classes, or online coursework. Unfortunately, these labor-intensive endeavors, while rewarding, come without the social opportunities of a traditional high school experience—no basketball games, no homecoming, and certainly no prom.

“Though these youth have grown up in very unique circumstances,” says McCalope, “we work to provide them with some of the same experiences as other youth their age. Prom is a once-in-a-lifetime, coming-of-age tradition and we don’t want them to miss out.”

The Project Cinderella campaign will last from January 2 through February 28 with the goal to raise $5,000 in monetary donations. The luau-themed prom is set for March 3, 2018.

BCFS Health and Human Services helps Tyler youth from the foster care system, as well as other young adults facing homelessness, poverty, and other challenges. The center provides counseling, case management and assistance with education, employment, housing location and medical care.

Make a donation to Project Cinderella. Or, find out more about the special event by visiting DiscoverBCFS.net/ProjectCinderella

Celeste Garcia Named Executive Director – Community Services Division

Photo: Celeste Garcia

BCFS Health and Human Services has named Celeste Garcia as Executive Director of its Community Services Division. In this role, Garcia will oversee BCFS’ community-based operations, which offer services in every Texas county ranging from case management and counseling, to life skills trainings, parenting classes, college and vocational tuition vouchers for youth in foster care, shelter for young adults struggling with homelessness, and more. Garcia will assume this role on November 1.

Garcia currently serves as Associate Executive Director of BCFS’ Residential Services Division where she oversees foster care, adoption, post release and home study programs, with annual budgets totaling $16.5 million. Garcia also serves as a key liaison between BCFS and its government partners at the federal, state and local level, ensuring compliance, quality assurance, and positive program outcomes for the children, youth and families served.

Under Garcia’s leadership, BCFS’ regional offices across the country continually receive high rankings from federal partners and third party advocacy groups that laud the organization for consistently delivering critical services for children and families in need with exceptional speed, scalability, and quality.

“Celeste is a dynamic leader who invigorates her team and delivers top notch programming,” said Asennet Segura, BCFS Chief Operating Officer. “I know she will not only strengthen our current programs, but also be key in leveraging BCFS locations in other states across the nation to expand our agency’s reach to more children and families in need.”

When she served as National Program Director of BCFS’ Post Release and Home Study Services, Garcia spearheaded the opening of regional offices strategically located around the nation to serve children and families reunited after a separation that sometimes spanned years. Garcia has worked closely with the U.S. departments of Justice, Homeland Security and key international diplomats to ensure BCFS’ operations filled gaps for unmet needs, and exceeded contract requirements.

“Throughout her tenure at BCFS, Celeste has maintained a laser focus on a singular, critical mission: ensuring the best quality placements and environments for children and youth in our care,” said Kevin Dinnin, BCFS President.

Garcia has 14 years of experience advocating for children and families. She earned her Masters of Science in Social Administration at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Community Services Division operates centers across Texas that serve youth from the foster care system, teens struggling with homelessness, poverty or a history of abuse, youth in the juvenile justice system, and families. At BCFS centers, youth receive case management, counseling, and assistance with education, employment and housing. Parent support groups and parenting education programs educate families on how to improve communication, resolve conflict, and create a stable, safe home environment for their families.