Dads and daughters set for unforgettable
Girls Inc.’s fifth Annual Red & White Ball
by Shawn Pachucki
Special to the Tri-State Defender
Long-committed to enriching lives, Girls Incorporated of Memphis provides a safe, fun and educational environment for girls ages six to 18. Each year, the organization dedicates one very special night to making sure the girls it serves know what love and respect feels like.
Girls Inc.’s Red & White Ball gives girls a chance to shine with the confidence, strength and beauty that they have learned to believe in as Girls Inc. members. This year’s ball, entitled “One Moment in Time,” takes place Saturday (Feb 18). More than 50 girls, ages six to eighteen, are expected to attend.
As Community Director of Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM), Randy Odom told The New Tri-State Defender that he became involved with the Red & White Ball last year as a volunteer supporter and shared that he was blown away by its impact.
“We always hear how young men need father figures, but little is said or done for the young ladies in regard to that,” said Odom.
Deborah Hester-Harrison, president and CEO of Girls Inc., acknowledged that fathers sometimes get left out because most of Girls Inc.’s family-oriented activities and programs focus on the mother. The Red & White Ball, she added, allows dads to step up and boldly show how much they love and support their daughters.
“This event is a good way for men in the community to show our girls how a gentleman should treat a lady – with respect, kindness and consideration,” said Hester-Harrison.
Odom filled one of the most critical needs for last year’s event by recruiting volunteer surrogate fathers to escort girls without a father figure in their lives. MAM is recruiting volunteers again this year. Odom has also donated the MAM Grizzlies Center as the host site for the Red & White Ball.
According to Hester-Harrison, The Grizzlies Center will be transformed to look like a senior prom. After a day of pampering, including hair, manicure and spa treatment, the girls will arrive at the ball feeling and looking like princesses. Each girl will walk arm in arm across a red carpet with their father or escort as they enter the room and end the evening with a father-daughter dance.
“A girl’s first sweetheart is often her dad,” shared Hester-Harrison. “. . . This event will be a special moment in time to spend it with him.”
(Community support for the Red & White Ball is still needed, especially from local restaurants that are interested in donating catering services. Additionally, adult males interested in volunteering as a surrogate father should call 901-744-MAM1.)