*This may not be a new story, but it is still a relevant one.
As we all know, being incarcerated affects more than the person doing time, it affects entire families, and sometimes, entire communities.
But the bottom line is: it’s the kids who always suffer the most.
So when Angela Patton, Founder and Director of CAMP DIVA, spoke to a group of girls about their relationships with their fathers, it was clear that the topic struck a chord. Many of the girls needed a way to connect with fathers who were no longer in the picture for a myriad of reasons that included deceased dads, divorced dads, and incarcerated dads.
So, these young, bright minds, came up with a solution to invite daddy into their lives and the result was a real tearjerker.
CAMP DIVA is a Richmond, Virginia-based non-profit program that provides opportunities for teen girls of African descent to prepare them for their passage into womanhood.
While brainstorming on solutions to reacquaint themselves with daddy, the girls thought a daddy-daughter dance would be a great place to start; but they soon realized there were girls both inside and outside of the camp – who would not be able to attend an annual dance with their fathers, because their fathers were absent, deceased, or incarcerated.
Instead of being deterred, the girls came up with solutions. They decided male family members, father-figures, and other male figures could stand in for the absent or deceased dads.
And when the talk turned to incarcerated fathers, their thoughts turned to if daddy can’t come to us, let’s go to daddy – let’s bring the dance into the jail!
They contacted a Richmond, Virginia jail with their proposal and the Sheriff approved the dance in hopes that it would be a sobering reminder to the fathers that they need to change their lives and stay out of jail.
The sheriff said,
“The best way to make good citizens is to make good fathers.”
During the dance, one little girl was so happy, she cried while telling the cameras:
I get to touch him and I get to hug him and I get to kiss him.
From this place, the idea for the documentary film, “Locked In NOT Locked Out” was born. The film tells the story of how these dances began, and follows the stories after the dances…following incarcerated fathers, as well as fathers who are not incarcerated.
Seeing the incarcerated dads get emotional as the girls came through the gates was so touching. Hopefully, it inspires them and other fathers to think twice before making decisions that will land them in these type of situations.
In the 5-minute video below, Angela Patton and CAMP DIVA tell how the Father-Daughter Prison Dance came about. You see the making of the documentary, and the Kickstarter fundraiser for, “Locked In NOT Locked Out.” The Kickstarter campaign has successfully ended, with the organization raising the $10,000 goal it set.