PHILADELPHIA, PA (WTXF) - They danced the night away at the Philadelphia Police Athletic League’s 4th annual Father-Daughter Dance Thursday evening.
Seventy-eight “princesses” were escorted by 54 dads. But nearly a third of those fathers were actually father figures—strangers who’ve opened up their hearts to young girls with no biological dad at home. Many young girls in Philadelphia have lost their fathers to incarceration or death—by illness or violence.
Twelve year old Shaniyah Tinsley’s father died when she was just 2. She was here with her PAL dad, officer Joe Ellerby. “He’s always taking us around like he’s our real dad,” says Shaniyah. I like Officer Joe a lot.”
Officer Ellerby has been providing a strong role model for girls through PAL for years. He says he girls “see how a man is supposed to treat a woman.”
PAL Officer Marcus Allen was here with two “daughter dates.” “They actually become like an extended family to you,” he told me. One of his “daughters,” 12 year old Amina Whittaker, gushed about her PAL dad: “He helps me when I’m in trouble and he really cares about me.”
The guest speaker for the evening, Ernest Daniels, Jr. offered words that more parents should hear—and heed: It’s our responsibility as fathers—as leaders—to nurture and train and develop and provide imagery for our kids.”
It’s been said before, but it bears repeating; almost any adult male can “make” a baby.