One evening each June, young girls in party dresses and shiny shoes arrive at a Richmond, Va. City jail for a date with their dads. They are escorted inside by the sheriff and met on a red carpet by their fathers, who for the occasion have been allowed to trade in their jumpsuits for suits and ties.
The fathers, also sporting boutonnieres, place wrist corsages on the girls. There are hugs and kisses, photos, then dinner and finally, dancing. Strong arms embrace tender shoulders and the room is filled with the sense that something very important is taking place.
The event, called “Dance of Their Own,” is organized by Camp Diva, a group that holds summer and after school programs that teach girls leadership and entrepreneurship and basic life skills. Angela Patton, director and co-founder of Camp Diva, said the girls of the organization came up with the idea for the event.
As part of the program’s curriculum, girls study the difference between community service and real change and learn to become critical thinkers and leaders.