01/12/14 — Daddys, daughters will take the dance floor next month

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Daddys, daughters will take the dance floor next month

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 12, 2014 12:06 AM

Next month will mark the 10th year for the father/daughter dance at the YMCA, and organizer Alando Mitchell says each year it becomes more special.

"A lot of dads and girls have expressed the memories that they get to make with their dads or the dads get to make with their daughters," he said. "It's priceless."

And it's not just about cute, tiny little girls getting the opportunity to stand on their dad's feet and be whisked around the dance floor, Mitchell said.

"We have a couple that comes every year," he said. "I know that they're the last couple off the floor. I think she's graduated from college now. They just show up every year -- he wears a nice tuxedo, she wears a nice gown.

"She told me that's a moment she always makes time for. She's in college and she lives off a-ways."

Such stories are not unique, he said.

"We have got quite a few young ladies that their dads don't live with them and they don't get to see their dads a lot," Mitchell said. "This is a moment for them to always look forward to this quality time with their dad."

Even though it may be called a "father/daughter dance," it is not limited to biological dads, he pointed out.

"We have had several young ladies come with their uncle -- their uncle's like the closest father figure they have -- or a grandfather will bring them," he said. "I remember one who brought his two granddaughters and they had a blast. A few months later, I heard about him passing away.

"But those girls will have that moment, have that memory for the rest of their lives."

Mitchell is director of the WARM Hearts, or Wayne Area Role Models, a mentoring program at the YMCA, which sponsors the tradition. He said it is the biggest fundraiser for the program.

"We're always looking for mentors to work with a child two hours per week or three times per month, doing some type of fun activities with them," he said. "We need more mentors. We only ask them to commit to 12 months."

The program serves youth from 5 to 16 years old. Mentors must be at least 18 years old and undergo a screening process.

There is no age restriction on those attending the dance.

But there is a limit on the number of tickets being sold, which is 200, Mitchell said. On average, the dance draws a capacity crowd, with 400-plus in attendance.

This year's dance will take place on Valentine's Day, which falls on a Friday. Tickets for the Feb. 14 event, which runs from 7-9 p.m. at the YMCA, went on sale Monday and can be purchased at the Y. Cost is $20 per couple, plus $5 for each additional daughter.

In addition to dancing, it features a cake walk, face-painting, food and door prizes.

For more information on WARM Hearts or the dance, visit the website, www.goldsborofamilyymca.org, or call 919-778-8557.