The Ophelia Project’s annual awards ceremony and luncheon at the Aqua Caliente Casino Resort Spa celebrated those who strive to make a difference in the lives of teen girls in the Coachella Valley.
Bill Powers, board chairman and founder of the Ophelia Project, stated, “We have spent 19 years rescuing potential for students in all three school districts in the valley.”
This year the organization is mentoring 750 girls with the help of 200 trained and certified mentors. Those mentors give more than 200,000 hours of their time and talent each year. The result has been a 100 percent graduation rate for girls who stay with the program.
Joel Kinnamon, president and superintendent of College of the Desert, said he is, “proud of the college’s relationship with the Ophelia Project, but most proud of the girls and their successes. They are the future of our community.”
The day’s events included a medallion award ceremony for 33 graduating Ophelia girls. This was followed by a silent auction, reception, and luncheon that began with a welcome from Ophelia’s CEO and president, Susan Francis. The rest of the luncheon was emceed by six of the nine Ophelia girls who have become junior and senior ambassadors for the organization.
Powers and Board Vice Chairman Gale Hackshaw were presented with the 2017 Above and Beyond Award for being “angels on Earth” with their commitment to the Ophelia Project.
Founded in 1997, the Ophelia Project began with five girls in its mentorship program at one local school. The organization has now mentored more than 4,500 girls from 15 schools.
The Ophelia Project/Healthy Family Clinic
73-555 San Gorgonio Way, Palm Desert, CA 92260
Photography by Loretta Vlach