Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

26Aug/130

A father-daughter dance… in prison: Angela Patton

A very touching, emotional and timely presentation, particularly given the unjust reality of mass incarceration in this country.

About the presentation...

At Camp Diva, Angela Patton works to help girls and fathers stay connected and in each others' lives. But what about girls whose fathers can't be there -- because they're in jail? Patton tells the story of a very special father-daughter dance. (Filmed at TEDxWomen)

Angela Patton is the creator of Camp Diva, which helps support "at-promise" girls ages 11-17.

From the presentation...

I'll never forget that one girl looked in her father's eyes with that camera and said, "Daddy, when you look at me, what do you see?"  Because our daddies are our mirrors that we reflect back on when we decide about what type of man we deserve, and how they see us for the rest of our lives.  I know that very well, because I was one of the lucky girls.  I have had my daddy in my life always.  He's even here today.

And that is why it is extremely special for me to make sure that these girls are connected to their fathers, especially those who are separated because of barbed wires and metal doors.  We have just created a form for girls who have heavy questions on their heart to be in a position to ask their fathers those questions and giving the fathers the freedom to answer.  Because we know that the fathers are even leaving with this one thought: What type of woman am I preparing to put in the world?  Because a father is locked inside does not mean he should be locked out of his daughter's life.

More about Angela Patton...

Tragedies are always difficult to overcome, but for Angela Patton they can be used as inspiration to pursue endeavors that positively impact the community. When Diva Mistadi Smith-Roane, the 5-year-old daughter of Patton’s friend, lost her life through a firearm accident in 2004, Patton found a mission: To create a summer camp where girls, ages 11 to 17, could be safe and instill in them principles that would prepare them for a healthy womanhood. She named it Camp Diva in memory of Diva. Since its inception, Camp Diva has expanded to offer after-school programs, conferences and other programs and services. The aim is to empower at-risk girls of African descent, whom she refers to as “at-promise.”

In 2011 Angela became part of the Girls for a Change staff and is currently running GFC Richmond programs. Trained as a licensed practical nurse and doula, Patton has worked in the nonprofit sector for over fifteen years. Angela serves as the director of Camp Diva, completing her BS degree in Business Administration from ECPI University and certification in Nonprofit Management. She has been honored as one of Virginians Making a Difference and Top 40 under 40, and was selected as one of 75 2012 Opportunity Collaboration Cordes Fellows.

See the Washington Post coverage, including a slide show from the dance.

 

 

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