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Celebrating Fathers Everywhere: Dad’s Club Inc. hosts annual Father-daughter dinner dance

15 JUNE 2013

 For some of us, our fathers were the first men we learned to love. For others it may have been our grandfathers, uncles and other father figures who stepped up and took on the role of dad. No matter what their role is, their relationship plays an important role in a woman’s life.Today, Dad’s Club Inc. presents their 5th annual Father Daughter Dinner Dance, which will take place in Southfield, MI.  “Mothers are like air, they’re always there. We wanted to show that there are Black men who are great fathers and that they are doing something positive in our community,” said Charles Harris, co-founder of the Dad’s Club Inc.


Dad’s Club Inc. is a non-profit organization that was founded in the mid-1990s by seven fathers who had children attending Cornerstone Schools


“When our kids grew up and went their separate ways, we still wanted to keep the organization together,” said Harris.


Dad’s Club Inc. volunteered at Cornerstone Schools doing whatever they could whether it was tutoring students or keeping the schools clean. The organization went on to create the Father Daughter Dinner Dance, which has been a huge success for the past few years. There are guests who have been attending the dance since the beginning and each year the dance has a substantial amount of new guests.


“Usually we have 300 to 500 guests come out and they have a great time,” said Harris.


The previous dances have been held at venues including the Renaissance, the Roostertail and Anthenem. This year is the first time the dance will be held in Southfield and it’s also the first national Father Daughter Dance. This dance will also be taking place the same day in cities such as Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and DC, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, and Memphis.


Special guests of the dance in Michigan include the mayor of Southfield, Brenda Lawrence as well as Harvey Hollis II, the director of Urban Economic Development Programs for the state of Michigan. “This may seem like a small event, but there’s a lot of planning that goes into it,” said Harris. Families look forward to the dance and the cool thing about this is that all ages are welcome. “Older women are just as excited about the dance as the little girls. Last year, we had an 80-year old father with his two daughters and they had a ball.”


Also, check out our article on father daughter relationships in the Winter Issue of ColorBlind.


By Ashley White


At 80, Leroy Miller wasn’t the oldest father at the fourth annual Dad’s Day Out celebration Saturday afternoon on Belle Isle. But he was perhaps the oldest father of a 13-year-old child on the island.


Asked what advice he would give to fathers, Miller — the father of 11, grandfather to 16 and great-grandfather to seven — said, simply, “Live a good life and do the right thing.”



Miller and his family were among about 2,000 people on Belle Isle for Dad’s Day Out, hosted by Dad’s Club Inc. and Cornerstone School’s Dad’s Club.


From 1 to 5 p.m., there was food, entertainment, games and massages for the adults.



“He’s a fun person,” Leroy Miller III of Detroit said of his father. The two of them talk sports, watch television and do yard work together, said the eighth-grader at Heilmann Middle School in Detroit.



Dad’s Club Inc. offered a bit of advice: “You have to hang in there … support the children, grow with them.”


Dad’s Club Inc. Co founder Joe Coleman said the goal of the event is to get fathers involved in their children’s lives. Dad’s Day is purposefully recreational and informational.



The recreation was what Kenneth Jackson, 39, of Detroit had in mind when he decided to attend with his daughter Kenya, 6


An event like Dad’s Day, he said, “makes men want to be better fathers.”


Jackson stood by, holding his daughter’s shoes, as she waited her turn in one of the inflatable moonwalks.



The two hang out all the time, Jackson said proudly about their trips to the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle. “She’s my favorite person.”


With a big smile on her face, Kenya appeared to be a big fan of her father as well.



“He helps me ride my bike, and he plays with me,” she said. And then got back in line.


Contact NAOMI R. PATTON at 313-223-4485

The Big dance At a fancy dance just for them, Detroit area men show their daughters how special they are




Robert Vaughn, worried that being away from home so much — he works about 80 hours a week — is causing him and his only daughter to slip away from each other, invited her to a dance.“I wasn’t sure how she would react,” confided Vaughn, a 38-year-old Detroiter. Their conversations had become short and unproductive. He felt out of touch. Even when he picked her up from school, she’d sit in the back seat of the car, not up front with him.


So he was relieved when Kyra Flowers, 13, said yes to the formal event. She got a new dress, a pretty blue gown; he wore a matching blue tie with his black suit.

Toward the end of the evening, Kyra smiled and told her father he was an “OK” dancer. Later, she said the dance made her feel special.Setting a good example

It is so difficult, the relationship between a father and a daughter.


How does he provide and protect while allowing her to grow and explore and become her own woman? How does he make sure she is listening when he tells her that she needs to treat her mind and her body with respect and not fall for guys who do otherwise?


Dads Club Inc., a Detroit group, says the first step to building a solid relationship is for men to spend time with their daughters and set a good example. Which is why the group hosted the First Annual City Wide Father/Daughter Dance last Saturday at the Renaissance Center in Detroit.


About 400 fathers and daughters, most under 14 and almost all African Americans, attended the gala. Some of the men were father figures, volunteers who escorted girls — many of them fatherless — from Barat House in Detroit, a residential treatment center for at-risk girls. “I didn’t have a father in my life,” said Corey Gilchrist, 27, of Detroit, explaining why he signed up to be an escort.


Together, they sipped pink punch out of plastic glasses, feasted on pasta and salmon and then cake for dessert before showing off their moves on the dance floor.

“We normally dance at home,” said Joseph Kimbrough, 31, an engineer and part-time pastor from Wayne, as he mopped the sweat off his face between songs. Before he could catch his breath, his daughter, 10-year-old Jasmine Kimbrough, was bopping to the next song.


For the girls, the occasion was about getting dressed up — the younger ones in white tights, patent-leather shoes and, in some cases, tiaras; the older girls in evening gowns and heels.


For the dads, it was about something more important than fashion — though they looked handsome, too, and a few, including a man in a mint-green suit accompanied by a girl in a mint-green dress, coordinated their outfits with their daughters.


For the dads, it was about showing their girls how a gentleman treats a lady. How he holds doors, helps her with her chair.


It was about sharing an experience, a kind of first date, a rite of sorts — before the girls grow beyond their fathers’ reach, before hanging out with dad becomes too uncool.


“When we say father-daughter dance, we look at it as more than a dance,” says Joe Coleman, of Detroit, Dads Club president and father of 11-year-old Taylor Coleman. “We want them to know, ‘You are the highest level of a queen; if you see yourself as such, others will treat you as such.’ “‘Time to step up’

That this dance took place in a city where about 55% of households with children are headed by single moms — and where dads have a reputation for not being involved with their kids — made it even more noteworthy.


“I know it’s not every day a child can spend time with their father like I do,” said Sherria Hamilton, 14, of Detroit, who was sitting at a bistro-style table with her dad, Sherwin Hamilton, 37, because her silver wedge-style shoes were killing her feet. “A lot of my friends don’t even know their dads.”

Coleman wants that to change. “For so long, the moms have done a fabulous job of raising the kids, both male and female. We realize as men we … have a significant role,” he said. “It’s time to step up.”


Added Fred Gilmore, a 32-year-old Detroiter who teaches special education: “Even though in today’s society there are a lot of single-parent homes, predominantly moms and kids, there are men out there who care. … Not only men, but black men. Black men are the ones who are looked upon as the deadbeats, as the ones who are not there, as having babies all over town. It’s important to show a positive light.”


My daughter “is not going to be able to say, ‘Well, my daddy wasn’t there.’ She’s not going to have the opportunity to say that.”

He and his ex-wife have joint custody of their daughter, Taylor Gilmore, 6, who had a lavender evening bag and wore a lavender dress, lavender shoes, lavender ponytail holders and lavender gloves that went all the way up to her elbows.Daddy still loves you


As the evening wore on, some of the dads carried their young daughters on the dance floor.


Others, including Robert Vaughn, who had taken the night off work — without pay — to attend the dance, stood nearby, holding purses and wraps and watching their daughters dance.


“They never get to see me anymore,” Vaughn, who took the second job after his wife was diagnosed last year with multiple sclerosis, said of his children.

“I want to show my daughter that … daddy still loves her.”


A few days later, Vaughn picked his daughter up from school.


She sat up front with him.

Dad's Club Inc.

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