PALM DESERT, Calif. -

The Ophelia Project, a non-profit agency  which mentors young women from 8th to 12th grade, is the recipient of the  "Extreme Makeover" by the  Desert Communities Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  "The Extreme Makeover will assist The Ophelia Project in reaching a new level in fund-raising, visibility and branding to assist an even larger number of young women throughout the Coachella Valley," said Stu Bailey, project chair for AFP's Extreme Makeover and vice president of First Foundation Bank.

The "makeover," covering everything from financial planning to marketing to fundraising, starts June 1 and will be completed September. 30, Bailey said.  The Ophelia Project was chosen from among a number of very worthy nonprofit agencies who applied for the "makeover."

The local Ophelia Project mentors 550 girls in 11 area schools in all three school districts with a volunteer force of 120 trained mentors who strive to encourage and empower the teenage girls by strengthening their skill sets and self-esteem. Due to the closure of the Ophelia Project headquarters in Erie, Pennsylvania, the Coachella Valley chapter has been asked to take over the national leadership of The Ophelia Project and "continue the dream". 

The Ophelia Project's philosophy and name is derived from the book written by Mary Pipher, Ph.D., entitled Reviving Ophelia:  Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. The Ophelia Project organization is a national model out of Erie, Pennsylvania. Healthy Family Foundation in Coachella Valley has the distinction of becoming the first official Ophelia Project Affiliate in 1997. The Ophelia Project of Coachella Valley is unique in program curriculum and mentor certification training driven by the specifics of the area populations.

The Ophelia Project of Coachella Valley is a program of the Healthy Family Foundation that enriches bicultural collateral through: 'etiquette for all situations'; art awareness as a vehicle to expand learning skills; and prevention of adolescent and teen obesity. The Ophelia Project is structured as a group mentoring program facilitated by local, successful, professional women who are dedicated to helping adolescent girls in the Coachella Valley, Francis said.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals represents more than 30,000 members in 233 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs.  The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession.