PUBLISHED: 3:27 PM on Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Clean sweep
Women's group help families with stress of moving

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  The Cinderella Group of Aldersgate United Methodist Church are, from left: front Cherry Eckland and Chantel Eckland; back, Sharon Cooper, Gail Baker, Jo Dahl, Sue Karlslyst, Bev Wanders and Nancy Green.
They clean a house from top to bottom in about two hours and don tiaras in the process.

It's not a fairy tale, but the Cinderella Project of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Juneau.

The project began when church member Jo Dahl got the idea from a cousin in Seattle.

"She talked about going to a Cinderella party and I didn't know what that was. She said a friend was moving into a new house and four or five friends were going over to help her clean before moving in, then they all went out to dinner," Dahl said.

"I thought 'how clever' and filed it in the back of my brain as a good idea and not much more."

A few weeks later, the church secretary announced she was selling her house and her husband would be moving south, leaving her and children in town for a few weeks to finish up the move.

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Jo Dahl, left, and Sue Karlslyst get the job done while sporting their tiaras and aprons.
"I thought we could help her out with a Cinderella party. I sent out an e-mail to church folks not knowing what to expect. I got great response and at the appointed time we all arrived at her house with mops, vacuums, steam cleaners and scrub brushes in hand," Dahl said.

"I bought some little kid dress up tiara's and encouraged everyone to wear their frilliest apron. We bought tiara's and special aprons for the little girls who were moving. Their friend, Sam, even came dressed as a knight in shining armor."

An older teen looked after the children while about a dozen adults cleaned in and under appliances and inside cupboards, oiled woodwork, cleaned light fixtures, mopped floors, swept out the garage and steam cleaned the carpets.

"It took us about an hour and a half to two hours to put in about 20 hours of work for the family that was moving," Dahl said.

"Then we all went out for dinner together."

The project didn't stop there. As the new parsonage was being completed, the Cinderellas cleaned the rental house for the pastor and his wife, Dan and Bev Wanders.

"It's a great project this church is about. In going with this group, it's about fun, comrade and relationships. It's really bonded members of the congregation," said Bev Wanders, who now joins the Cinderellas in their cleaning.

"It feels really good to fill in some of the gaps where people need it."

The group continues to sweep into action when a church member is moving. Each member brings supplies and whatever is needed to get the job done.

"It takes some courage to open your home to all these people when you are at your most disorganized," Dahl said.

"It is also when you're at your wits end with all the stress of moving."