Every year, Communities In Schools of Brunswick County, N.C., gives girls the chance to be princesses for a day. And their knights in shining armor? Their dads, grandfathers and other positive male role models.
For the past four years, Communities In Schools of Brunswick County and the local department of parks and recreation have hosted the Little Princess Ball, which gives young ladies ages 5-10 and the leading men in their lives a fun afternoon of face painting, crafts, dancing and, most importantly, time to bond.
“We believe that dropout prevention starts with the family,” said Kimberly Bandera, marketing and events director for Communities In Schools of Brunswick County. “In our community we have fathers, grandfathers and other male role models who don’t have opportunities to spend quality time with little girls. Hosting an event like the Little Princess Ball helps bring everyone together.”
When the Little Princess Ball first began, dads were a bit apprehensive. The ball is completely decked out with things any little princess would love: glitter, jewels and lots of pink. Young ladies are encouraged to dress up, and many arrive wearing dresses and princess costumes. How would male role models fit into this world?
Communities In Schools of Brunswick County stresses the value of the ball as a way to help dads find common ground with their children. The event not only helps them have fun together, but serves as an opportunity for the children and their adults to better understand one another. This is especially important as the little princesses get older and need a role model to talk to about growing up, succeeding in school and making their way through life after graduation.
The first Little Princess Ball had 150 participants in one auditorium. This past February, it had to be held in two locations and 375 people attended. Many dads and grandfathers can be seen wearing pink corsages and shirts, and some even go full-out with, suits, ties and vests that match the decorations.
Bandera loves going to the Little Princess Ball and watching fathers and daughters dance and laugh together.
“It’s so amazing watching them with the girls. They seem so proud.”