This formal event is open to fathers and daughters age 10 and older, and will feature a dinner, guest speakers, and a dance performance by Tina's Dance Studio of Belle Fourche.

The ball is organized by the Stop and Think Program, which operates under the Northern Hills Pregnancy Care Center and teaches abstinence until marriage. Program director Alisha Vincent is very excited about the ball, noting that the response has been overwhelming. They have already exceeded their selling goal by 50 tickets, and although the official cutoff for purchasing tickets was this past Saturday, calls are still coming in from dads who want to take their daughters to the ball.

While this is the first time a Purity Ball is to be held in Spearfish, there have been other such events elsewhere in the state. Sioux Falls will hold its third Purity Ball this spring, and Rapid City is planning one for Friday. Vincent heard about the positive results of other Purity Balls at a work-related conference and thought it sounded like a great idea for Spearfish. "We really want to affirm the relationship between fathers and daughters," Vincent said, noting that there are limited opportunities in the area for dads who want to do something special with their daughters.

The ball will be special, indeed. It calls for formal attire, and the evening will end with ballroom dancing. If that seems intimidating, Tina's Dance Studio will be available to teach various dance steps.

The dinner buffet will feature pork loin and chicken strips in an effort to cater to the varying age-groups. At this point, there are girls anywhere from 10 to 18 years of age signed up.

The featured speakers will be Art Jones, facility services director at BHSU, and his adult daughter, Amanda DeSarro. They will talk about Amanda's growing up years, emphasizing the importance of a close father-daughter relationship, positive male role models, and a lifestyle of purity.

Vincent said there has been considerable interest in a similar event for mothers and sons, and she emphasized that the Stop and Think Program wants to support those relationships as well. Vincent said they would like to sit down with a focus group of teenage boys to find out what their interests are, since boys probably don't find a formal ball as exciting as many young girls do. "We're very open to ideas and suggestions," Vincent said.

There are still tickets available for Saturday, and interested individuals may call 722-7414 to register. The cost is $25 per person, but area churches have donated scholarships that may be available for those who lack funds. Also, grandfathers, uncles, or other close male relatives are welcome in the event a father is unavailable.

Like Vincent pointed out, this is a good opportunity to reuse those prom dresses.

For more information visit www.stopthinksd.net.

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