A Yukon mother took action after reading the comments on a post on the Yukon Happenings Facebook page.
The Facebook post started out with a mother simply asking if she could bring her daughter to the City of Yukon’s Daddy Daughter Dance. Other moms commented wanting to know the same because either the father had passed, wasn’t in the picture, worked out of town or it was a same-sex household. Ashely Spells-Hayes said some other commenters, male and female, “bashed” the mothers—some saying things like it’s a ‘lesson that life isn’t fair,’ how them attending would ruin the dance, or stating they didn’t want same-sex parents to confuse their children.
Ashely Spells-Hayes is retired military who coaches Little League T-Ball in Yukon, but most importantly she’s a mom. She said that she’s not an “everyone gets a trophy mom” and she knows life isn’t fair as an adult, but that life should be fair for children.
When Spells-Hayes first moved to Yukon from Texas in 2007, her and her daughter got “all dressed up” to go to the Daddy Daughter Dance because she was always allowed to take her in Texas, but they were turned away at the door because mothers weren’t allowed to come in. Spells-Hayes’s daughter was upset and she felt bad she wasn’t able to take her.
Due to her personal experience, just wanting the hateful comments to end and also not wanting a group of mothers to disturb the Daddy Daughter Dance, Spells-Hayes decided she had to do something.
“People were getting bashed on that page and something just clicked in me,” Spells-Hayes said. “I don’t know. I guess I just got tired of it. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I snapped and I decided to do something about it.”
Spells-Hayes then created the Facebook group “All Childrens Sweetheart Dance Yukon 2017” because she decided to host the “Little Sweetheart’s Dance.” She posted the group on Yukon Happenings on Tuesday admittedly thinking it would just be something small with around 20 children.
“I did it for the children number one. I did it number two for the parents that have never got to be included in something like this. I did it number three so there wasn’t a disturbance to the daddy-daughter dance because there was going to be,” Spells-Hayes said. “It’s grown really fast. It’s a little overwhelming right now, but it’s been pretty amazing.”
People with different situations have reached out to Spells-Hayes from Tulsa, Shawnee, Piedmont and Edmond asking if they could be involved.
At least 75 moms have offered to help with the dance so far so Spells-Hayes is hosting a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Truelove’s Longhorn Burgers, 119 S. Ranchwood Blvd., to try to get everything straightened out.
Spells-Hayes said she doesn’t want to compete with the city or disturb the Daddy Daughter Dance in any way, she just wanted to come up with something where all parents and children could be included, no matter what their situation.
“It’s a win-win for both sides to just let it go,” she said. “If this works, I want this to be the first annual Little Sweetheart’s Dance. I’m willing to do this every year so the kids can have something fun that they look forward to and get dressed up.”
Spells-Hayes attends Grace Church- Episcopal, 720 S. Yukon Pkwy. She said their motto is “God loves everyone” and that she thinks that should be implanted in all aspects of life so that was her inspiration for the dance.
“It’s amazing how a few words on Facebook turned my entire world into a frenzy, but I don’t regret it. This feels like what I’m supposed to do,” Spells-Hayes said. “The number one goal should be happiness, peace and unity which I hope this dance provides.”
Everyone is welcome—boy, girl and no matter what age, Spells-Hayes said. It’s also not limited to just one parent or to a parent at all—it can be a family event with both parents and multiple children, children could be accompanied by their grandparents or siblings.
“No matter what the situation, absolutely everyone is welcome,” Spells-Hayes said. “But the kids have to be accompanied by someone. It doesn’t matter who, but don’t just drop them off. It’s not a day care.”
There is no fee to attend the dance. It’s being funded out of Spells-Hayes’s pocket and through donations. To make a donation, visit the GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/3ab94a0. Donations will also be accepted at the dance to go toward next year’s dance. If it doesn’t go well and they don’t host a dance next year, all extra donations will be donated to a local charity.
There will be multiple photographers at the event who have volunteered their time, but Spells-Hayes is having a difficult time finding an affordable DJ.
Spells-Hayes also went through her daughter’s past formal dresses, as well as some other moms, and they will soon be hosting an open-closet for people to find something to wear without spending the extra money.
If anyone doesn’t have anything for their children to wear, call Spells-Hayes at 361-688-2573 and she said she will help get them something.
The Little Sweetheart’s Dance is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore Dr.
The Daddy Daughter Dance offers different times depending on ages, but is set for today at the Dale Robertson Center. Tickets are $20 per couple today and $5 for each additional child.