SALT LAKE CITY — In the Kingdom of Everley, young princesses are eager to help people in foreign lands.

With the help of the Armstrong Mansion and its Victorian-like setting, In Our Own Quiet Way is hosting its inaugural Princess Tea Party as a fundraiser in the nonprofit organization's mission of helping people in poverty-stricken Kenya.

Dressed in an array of colorful princess costumes, girls ages 4 to 12 waited anxiously outside the doors of the mansion for their turn to participate in the tea party.

"I like to have tea parties and be a princess," young "princess" Alexia Anderson said Thursday.

After a short wait, the girls were escorted into the dream world of Everley, where they took part in a roleplay of "Princess Ilissa's Story." Based on a series of books written by K.L. Morgan, the story allowed the girls to experience the fun of drinking "pretend tea," picking out toys for needy children and decorating crafts.

The Princess Tea Party is serving as a warm-up to the annual Princess Festival and Daddy-Daughter Grand Ball the charity holds each year in Lindon.

"Our goal with the tea party is to make a little more of a statement here in Salt Lake, to create more presence of what the Princess Festival is," said Ron Hatfield, In Our Own Quiet Way's founder and chief executive.

With funds raised from the tea party and festival, the charity that began in 2002 plans to help the people of Kenya by improving their water sources and farmlands.

"We have started building dams in drought areas," Hatfield said. "We are working with the Minister of Water (in Kenya), the (United States Agency for International Development), the World Bank (Group) and others to put together a comprehensive plan to build a 1,000 dams within the next 10 years."

According to Hatfield, many of the people in Kenya are facing hunger and starvation shortages, and about two-thirds of the country's children are orphans.

Along with helping the people of Kenya, for Hatfield and his daughter, Holly, there is a second motive and reason as to why the charity holds such events as the Princess Tea Party.

"It further reinforces the idea that a true princess cares about the well-being of others," Holly Hatfield said.

In the re-enactment of "Princess Ilissa's Story," the young princesses are asked to help flood victims of another area by donating toys they pick out themselves.

"We work on strong moral characters," Ron Hatfield said. "It's an idea of empowering these girls and giving them a good image of how to be a good princess. We are really individualizing the whole experience."

The true meaning behind the Princess Tea Party is the reason Marie-Chantal Labrie said she signed up her daughter for the event.

"We really decided to bring her here because of the message they are sending to children," Labrie said. "Especially at 5, they want to keep everything; they want everything. We want to start teaching our daughter to help and be kind to others."

The Princess Tea Party runs through Saturday at the Armstrong Mansion, 667 E. 100 South. Cost is cost $15 per girl.

For more information about the princess events, visit www.princessfestival.com. Information about In Our Own Quiet Way is available at www.QuietWay.org.

e-mail: danng@desnews.com