Chicago officers stand in at dance for young girls without a father

In efforts to ensure “no child left behind,” police officers from Chicago departments offered to escort young girls without a father to a daddy-daughter dance.

This story warms my heart in so many ways. As the daughter of a retired police officer, there were times growing up when he wasn’t always home. Yet my father did his very best to make every dance, recital and school-related function I had. I always knew his job was both dangerous and demanding, and that made our quality time all the more sweet.

Young girls were able to experience an evening with an officer and a gentleman at the Chicago Police Department and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives’ first “Daddy Daughter Dance.” Held at the South Shore Cultural Center, the event was open to girls in the neighboring community who wanted to enjoy a safe evening filled with dancing and formal wear.

For close to a dozen girls, however, it was a chance to not be excluded from the fun. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, because some people don’t really associate with their fathers,” a 13-year-old attendee told NBC Chicago. Members from three Chicago police districts had no problem stepping in as Dad for the evening, which more than likely made their night.

In most cases, children from the invited neighborhoods grow up in violence and poverty that can make it hard to create happy childhood memories. Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, myself, I understand the importance of community outreach programs and events geared toward youth that help to fill in the blanks. Sure, it might sound a bit insignificant to some, but it’s important to remember that everyday occurrences aren’t always everyone’s reality.

I can only imagine how it must feel to grow up without a father. Quite a few of my childhood friends didn’t have one — let alone a positive male role model — and that still has lasting effects on their lives today. As small as a daddy-daughter dance is compared to the grand scheme of things, it’s a memory these girls can take with them in life.

No one enjoys not feeling included.

This story is pretty awesome considering how hostile things have been between police and civilians. It’s disheartening to hear tragic news of those who abuse the badge that can make many believe cops no longer hold our best interests at heart. At least we can say with this story, there were quite a few cops willing to “serve and protect” these little girls for the evening.

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