Cabot fathers, daughters to wear dancing shoes tonight

By Lisa Burnett Published February 20, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Nick Hillemann

Amanda Elizandro, district communications coordinator for the Cabot Public Schools, left, and Sarah Owen, president of The Cabot Panther Foundation, are heading up the My Daughter’s Heart fundraiser for the Cabot School District.

Tonight, fathers and daughters from the Cabot area will put on their dancing shoes for the first My Daughter’s Heart, a father-daughter dance in the Cabot High School cafeteria.

Amanda Elizandro, district communications coordinator for the Cabot Public Schools, and Sarah Owen, president of the Cabot Panther Foundation, have been working with a committee to put together the event. The proceeds from the dance will go to the Cabot Panther Foundation.

“This is our first [father-daughter dance],” Elizandro said. “The Panther Foundation is a nonprofit organization, and any money that is raised or collected [by it] is given straight back to the school district.”

Elizandro and Owen said there has never been an event like this in Cabot, and 1,250 tickets have been sold for My Daughter’s Heart, for a completely sold-out event.

Girls in pre-K up to the eighth grade will have the chance to dance, eat and spend time with their fathers or father figures in their life at My Daughter’s Heart from 6-8 tonight.

“The girls will be announced as they enter the arena and given a tiara,” Owen said. “I have a daughter who is 8, and for the last four years, we’ve been going to the Sugar Plum Ball in Little Rock, sponsored by CARTI. I thought, how wonderful would it be to [have] an event that big and that exciting in Cabot?”

Owen and Elizandro worked with their committee to get an event together to meet the needs of the demographics of Cabot.

“There have been numerous people who have said, ‘We’re excited about this, and this is going to be our daddy-daughter event of the year.’ The timing is also really good because it’s near Valentine’s Day,” Owen said.

Planning for the event started in November, and both Owen and Elizandro look forward to seeing everyone have a good time at My Daughter’s Heart.

“I’m excited to see the little girls’ expressions and see their excitement,” Elizandro said. “Now we can have this for them here, and they can share this experience with their dads. Daughters and dads will really share this moment and enjoy this.”

This event will give little girls in the Cabot area a chance to feel like princesses.

“Every girl wants to feel like a princess, and there’s many times they don’t feel like a princess,” Owen said. “This is the one opportunity for every little girl, young lady or preteen to feel like a princess. [Each girl gets] to wear a special dress, a special tiara, eat a special dinner and share a special dance with her daddy or another male figure in her life.”

Elizandro said she didn’t know what to expect when she and Owen started selling tickets to the event. They still don’t know if the dance will become an annual event.

“We’ve been monitoring it, and we were at a steady pace [for ticket sales], and these last two weeks, it has just skyrocketed,” she said. “We are overwhelmed with the response and people wanting to come to the event. We’re going to give them a good event.”

Owen said she is enjoying the opportunity to show off the Cabot Panther Foundation to a younger crowd.

“I love getting to reach out to the elementary and lower school level,” she said. “This way, when they get older, they’ll know what [the foundation] is and how to become involved.”

Elizandro and Owen said some students from the Cabot School District will be helping at the event.

“They’re going to come out and help us, whether it’s [with] parking or helping the little girls take their plates of food to their table. We’re utilizing a lot of student help,” Elizandro said. “When you have great support from the schools and students, that makes it easier. We’re very excited.”

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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