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Community Outreach, General Information, Media Advisory

More Than a Dress: LSU Joins The Cinderella Project to Empower Young Women

10/17/2013 03:39 PM

BATON ROUGE – LSU recently participated in the second annual Cinderella Project Leadership Academy, or CPLA. The leadership program is one of the outreach services provided by The Cinderella Project, a local nonprofit organization that originally began as an effort to provide under-resourced girls with free prom dresses.

In 2012, The Cinderella Project joined forces with LSU to create and host the first Leadership Academy. This year, CPLA was hosted at the Louisiana State Police Headquarters in early October with 28 high school women participating from 20 high schools in 10 parishes around the state.

The primary purpose of the academy is to help young women understand the “ins and outs” of college life – everything from the application process to maximizing student development opportunities at institutions of higher education institutions like LSU.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with LSU in hosting the second annual Cinderella Project Leadership Academy,” said Shelton Jones, co-founder of the The Cinderella Project. “Empowering young women with information about college planning is one of our primary goals as an organization.”

The academy also provided these students the chance to speak with LSU counselors about choosing a major, audit a class and participate in a community service project. Above all else, the academy provided these students with a platform to see what it is like to be a leader and to encourage them to become leaders themselves.

“As the state’s flagship university, we want to be ‘the people’s university,’” said Brandon Smith, LSU community affairs liaison. “Innovative programs like CPLA give us an incredible opportunity to extend the resources of the university to increase access to postsecondary education. We must give back.”

Each “graduate” of the academy receives a stipend to offset the costs of taking the ACT test and are awarded a $500 scholarship from The Cinderella Project, which is contingent upon their acceptance and enrollment at a college or university in the state of Louisiana.

2013 Leadership Academy sponsors were Amerigroup, Custom Linens, ExxonMobil, Goldring Family Foundation, Junior League of Baton Rouge, Kean Miller, the Louisiana State Police, Kim Nevils, E.J. and Marjory B. Ourso Family Foundation, Pine Land Title, Powell Group Fund, Red River Bank, St. James Episcopal Church, Taylor Porter and Turner Industries Fund.

For more information on the Cinderella Project Leadership Academy, please visit  Inquiries about the academy can be directed to or 225-302-0203.

For more information about the regarding LSU’s involvement with the Cinderella Project Leadership Academy, contact the LSU Women’s Center at or visit or contact the LSU Community University Partnership at   

About the Cinderella Project
The mission of the Cinderella Project is to support young women statewide with resources that may not exist for them otherwise.  The organization’s goal is to provide educational outreach and community-based projects that are designed to build confidence and self-esteem for young women. The Cinderella Project is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization.

LSU Media Relations