Valentines Day, a holiday traditionally commemorated by the giving of cards, chocolate candy, and flowers, has come to mean so much more for an extraordinary group of young ladies who will celebrate by spending an evening with the special men in their life: Their fathers.
The Real Dads Network’s 5th Annual Daddy Daughter Valentine’s Dance will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at The Broad Street Ballroom, 41 Broad Street (between Beaver and Exchange Place) in New York City, from 5 to 9 p.m. A highlight of the Valentine’s Day weekend, this premier event presents an opportunity for dads and their daughters to get dressed up, dance, have dinner, talk, and share a memorable evening together with other fathers and their daughters.
The Daddy Daughter Valentine’s Dance is a celebration of that special relationship between fathers and their daughters, and promotes the importance and necessity of fathers playing a key role in their children’s lives. Drawing inspiration from the event theme “Empowering Our Daughters,” this year, the young ladies will take the lead by serving as official hosts for the dance. A signature event for the Real Dads Network, the dance draws fathers and daughters from around the tri-state area along with celebrities, sports figures and other guests, and will feature a musical performance by Eden Duncan-Smith, star of Broadway’s Fences, The Lion King and a regular attendee of the Daddy Daughter Valentine’s Dance.
“As the primary male role model, fathers influence their daughters in profound ways-from how they see themselves, to what they come to expect from men, and the world at large,” said Derek Phillips, Founder & Executive Director of Real Dads Network. “A daughter’s self-concept as a female, and woman, is largely shaped by the relationship she has with her father, and impacts how she views herself and her place in the world.”
Serving as a co-chair for this event is Leonard E. Burnett, Co-Chief Executive Officer & Group Publisher, Uptown Media Group. Other supporters include: Fathers Inc., KISS-FM, Open Society Foundation, and Hype Lounge to name a few.
“I have many role models and my dad is at the very top of the list,” says Autum Ashante, an astounding young woman who, at only 13-years old, is already a college freshman at the University of Connecticut. Ashante is also a co-hostess of the dance. “My father is there for me; he ‘shows up’ in all areas of my life and encourages me to strive for excellence in all that I do for my community and myself. Participating in the Daddy Daughter Valentine’s Dance is just one of the many ways that he shows me how special I am.”
The Daddy Daughter Valentine’s Dance has become a popular activity in other major cities, and the New York event serves as both the inspiration and model for similar dances taking place the same weekend in other states including: California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In 2011, Real Dads Network showed their support for President Obama’s National Fatherhood Initiative by presenting the Daddy Daughter Valentine’s Dance as the new national family tradition for fathers and their daughters, and initiating a call to action for every city across the nation to honor this tradition by hosting daddy daughter dances during the Valentine’s weekend every year.
“Working with my father to plan the Daddy Daughter Valentine’s Dance each year is a lot of fun. This is our special project and I like getting dressed up and going to really nice places with him,” said Jordyn Phillips, event co-hostess and daughter of Real Dads Network Founder & Executive Director Derek Phillips. “All of the fathers and daughters have a really good time and I wish we could do it more that once a year.”
Since its inception, Real Dads Network, a non-profit organization, has emerged as a leading resource for fathers who are, or would like to play a greater part in the parenting of their children. The organization works to ensure that fathers and their children remain connected, regardless of the marital or living situation, and helps families to feel supported and empowered so they can become proud, active, contributing members of society.
In addition to the annual Daddy Daughter Dance, Real Dads Network has originated a week-long celebration of Father’s Day with the annual “In Celebration of Black Father’s Week” events. The organization also facilitates Real Dads Club meetings for fathers, presents workshops on fatherhood issues, provides a free monthly newsletter to subscribers, and hosts an annual Real Dads Award ceremony.
Each year, Real Dads Network gives $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors who will be attending college.