Dover father-daughter dance aims to create memories

DOVER — Moms get a lot of attention, and not just on Mother’s Day, says social worker Natasha Simms. That’s not always the case with dads, though.

“It is too often we see negative fathers in the media,” she said. “As a single mother, I’m celebrated all the time, but I don’t see single fathers being recognized.”

So to make sure dads get their due, she organized a father-daughter dance to celebrate dads during Father’s Day weekend.

Fathers and daughters of all ages are welcome to attend the dance on Saturday, the day before Father’s Day. The theme is “A Starry Night,” and Ms. Simms said the room will have an “Enchanted” aura.

Natasha Simms’ father died when she was 6 and his absence inspired her to organize a father-daughter dance at the Elizabeth W. Murphey School. (Submitted photo)

Natasha Simms’ father died when she was 6 and his absence inspired her to organize a father-daughter dance at the Elizabeth W. Murphey School. (Submitted photo)

“The fathers and daughters will be blown away,” she said.

There will be music, free pictures, food and giveaways for the dads and daughters to enjoy.

The dance, from 4 to 8 p.m., will be held at the Elizabeth W. Murphey School on Kings Highway in Dover.

“The Murphey School is a home for children, most often, I believe, who are in the custody of the state,” said Ms. Simms, of Dover. “They do a lot of stuff for the kids over there.”

Tickets cost $25 and $5 for each additional ticket. They can be purchased at Unique Hair Creations in Dover and SAS Hair Studio in Smyrna.

While the majority of the money raised will go to Ms. Simms’ nonprofit, she wants to give 10 percent of proceeds to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition since they helped her while she battled breast cancer.

“I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in October 2012, and my sister was diagnosed three years before I was,” she said. “The breast cancer coalition has done so much for my sister and I. Any proceeds I have are going to them.”

Her nonprofit will target shelters and mentoring services.

“It will be called Heal in Hearts and will service various populations in the community,” Ms. Simms said. “With shelters, mentoring programs for young men, transitional services for recently released inmates amongst other things.”

She said the money raised will go toward covering the costs of applying to be a nonprofit.

Carlton Wise, of Dover, said the dance is worth supporting.

“We need more events like this period,” he said. “I think it would be something the daughters will appreciate.”

Mr. Wise is taking his 8-year-old daughter Carleya as his date.

“She loves to dance, I love to dance, we’re going to have a good time and enjoy each other’s company,” he said.

Mr. Wise said he enjoys being a true role model to his daughter.

“A lot of people didn’t have fathers in their lives,” he said. “That was a thing for me. I had to make sure when my time came, I played my part to the fullest.”

Ms. Simms also grew up without a dad after her father died when she was 6. The absence of a father inspired her to organize this dance.

“I want the fathers who’ve been in their daughters’ lives to feel appreciated, and I want the fathers who don’t really have an active role in their daughters’ lives to feel motivated,” she said.

Phillip Francis said attending the dance will create memories as well as “a better bond between me and my children.”

The Dover dad said he and his 11-year-old daughter Layla love doing dances like the Nae-nae.

Cory Thomas, also of Dover, said he’s bringing his two daughters to create a moment they will never forget.

“The biggest thing for me is creating the memory,” he said. “I find that when those sad times get you down, you can think of the good times.”

Mr. Thomas said he and daughters — 5-year-old Lynia and 4-year-old Hope — are goofballs.

“We dance a lot in the house, especially my daughter Hope,” he said.

Ms. Simms said the men do not have to be the girl’s biological father to attend.

“Whether you’re a godfather, uncle, stepfather, father figure or father, this event is for you and that special young lady in your life,” she said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kristen Griffith is a Dover freelance writer.

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