"It hit me a lot when I became a father that a lot of men get disregarded as fathers sometimes," said Leny Thomas, one of the Father Daughter Gala committee members. "We all came together because we felt it was something we could do to show dads, or any father figures, that they matter and give them a special night with their princesses. Stepping up as a man and being a father in a child's life has an effect on that child's life."
Thomas and his fellow committee members, Julio Tavarez, Andrea Valentine, Richard Valentine, Tracy Ventura, and Ronnete Wongus, held the event at the function hall in King's Lynne. They had a pink carpet, a photoshoot setup, and Sephora makeup artists who donated their time to do on-the-spot makeup for any interested girls.
"Our event was not just for little girls," said Thomas. "It doesn't matter what age you are, the night was meant for every girl to feel like a princess."
They are in the process of organizing a second gala for sometime in July, said Thomas. They held their first committee meeting of the year on Thursday.
The event hosted by the city's parks and recreation department is geared toward the younger crowd, inviting pre-schoolers to fifth-graders and their father figures to enjoy a fun night with music, dancing, games, and refreshments, according to Lisa Nerich, associate commissioner for the DPW and parks and recreation department activities. It will be Feb. 8, 6-8 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus Club.
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"There will be snacks, pizza, a soda bar, a candy bar, and a photo booth," said Nerich. "It's going to be an evening for father figures to spend time with their daughters, have fun, dance, and hopefully the girls can meet new friends."
When the flyers for the department's event initially came out, there was some frustration shared by Thomas and his fellow committee members about it being called the city's "first" daddy daughter dance. He made a call to Nerich and expressed those frustrations and she sent out new event flyers, taking out the word "first."
"I wasn't trying to step on anyone's toes," said Nerich. "Our department is dedicated to the city's youth and we were just trying to put together a gathering for fathers and daughters. I'm willing to work with Leny and am happy to help him promote his event in July. I think it's nice that there are so many people working together for the benefit of the city."