Published On: Thu, Feb 13th, 2020

Creating Some Sweet Moments, Unforgettable Memories at Dads, Daughters Dinner & Dance

C. Ron Allen

Boca Raton, FL – Emma Leon was all dolled up on Saturday in her best dress. Her hair was done and sure enough, the 6-year-old was sporting a princess tiara.

As you can imagine, she danced the afternoon away with a date she knew for certain will love her forever.

That was the beauty – and, perhaps, part of the vast appeal – of a date night, or in Saturday’s case a date afternoon, with Dad.

Emma was among 175 girls, ages 6 to 16, who took part in the Inaugural Father/Daughter Dinner & Dance on board the Grand Celebration Cruise Line at the Port of Palm Beach. Present were at least 150 fathers and father figures, including Riviera Beach Mayor Ronnie Felder.

The intent of the event – which was hosted jointly by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and KOP Mentoring Network – was to create an opportunity for fathers and daughters to spend quality time together as well as provide cherished memories for the participants. 

Several of the dads I know have a hard time bonding with daughters, so this was a great opportunity for them to spend some quality time together.  It also was a time for fathers to show their special little girls how a gentleman is supposed to treat them when they start dating.

It ripped my heart apart when I learned that more than a half of the girls were not accompanied by their dads. Worse, several do not have an uncle, grandpa or any other positive male figure in their lives.

Thanks to the Delray Beach and West Palm Beach police officers who quickly stepped up and saved the afternoon for these girls, many whom are among our homeless ranks.

“It is my pleasure to do this for these young ladies,” Delray Beach police officer Theodore Williams said. “Anything to make their day.”

Pine Grove Elementary student Adelyn Davidson had been looking forward to the big day all week, her dad, Shane Davidson, said.

I felt so special dancing with the 9-year-old and all her classmates, who had me glued to the dance floor.

“She loves dancing and she loves being with her friends,” said Davidson, who had to rearrange his schedule to accommodate his princess.

“I don’t mind doing it. Everything we do is for the kids,” he added. 

After an all-you-can-eat spread of pizza and other kiddies’ specialties, along with cookies, cake and punch, the party was moved from the dining room to the sun deck where a disc jockey entertained them.   

Organizers hope the event, which was a part of the Boys & Girls Club’s new father figure initiative, will help father figures understand their importance in the development of a child.

“This is an amazing opportunity to help the children in our community while helping the fathers and father figures that don’t always feel welcome to participate in the lives of children,” said Shamus Gordon, a former Club director who spearheaded the event. “It’s been proven [that] a child needs the guidance of a father figure as much as a mother figure. This Father-Daughter Dinner & Dance is just the first step to help build stronger families and healthier children.”

The event was sponsored in part, thanks to the support from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and generous donations from Nozzle Nolen, Tropical Shipping, the Riviera Beach CDC, the Kiwanis Club and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

A highlight for me was when a girl, about 9, asked chaperone Earl Blanchard if the punch was for the kids.

When Blanchard said yes, with the innocence of a child she responded, “I feel so fortunate, I feel rich today.”

Now, that’s what Saturday’s Dinner & Dance was all about.

C. Ron Allen can be reached at [email protected] or 561-665-0151.

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