WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Marshall Fauntleroy, 50, donned a suit and escorted his 8-year-old daughter Saranann from their New York City home to the White Plains Crowne Plaza Hotel Friday for an evening of dinner and dancing at the fourth annual father-daughter dance.
"That's how important it is," said Fauntleroy, who saw a flier for the dance while in Westchester for work. "It's very important -- especially something like this -- for fathers to go out with their daughters as a role model and show her how somebody should treat her. It gives me an opportunity to show her about being treated like a lady."
Fauntleroy, who is a program director for a Hartsdale Daytop Village facility that helps adolescents overcome drug abuse, said he's equally excited for his family to attend the Youth Bureau's upcoming mother-son dance.
The Fauntleroys joined dozens of couples stuffing plates at the buffet, snapping photos together, teaming up for trivia competitions and taking advantage of the dance floor. The White Plains Youth Bureau started the dance three years ago and moved it into the Crowne Plaza this year to accommodate 163 attendees, according to Adrienne Rivers, the evening supervisor of neighborhood services at the youth bureau.
"We're at capacity. Unfortunately we had to turn people away. That's a good sign for next year though," Rivers said. "It started out as a way for the fathers to have publicly-sponsored time with their daughters. It just keeps growing every year and they have such a beautiful time."
Once the youth bureau launched its Fatherhood Initiative two years ago, Rivers said the program's goals fit right in with the dance's.
"The research says that when children have an active father in their life, they do better in school and they do better in social situations. So it's an opportunity for fathers to spend time with kids," Rivers said.
Craig Williams, 45, says he and his 11-year-old Treshar are together a lot, but the pair was still excited for a special night out.
"It's a good thing. It's also for her to be with her classmates," said Williams, a White Plains resident who works at the local Nissan dealership.
Treshar, a fifth grader at Church Street, said she was particularly excited to do the Electric Slide.
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