Now and then there's an event that comes along which becomes a hidden gem in a community — one that could grow over time to be one of the events of the year within a community.

The Taste of Newton was one of those — a meager start. Look at it now.

There is a new event on the calender which needs to grow over time. CASA: A Voice for Children, held their inaugural Daddy/Daughter Dance at the Meridian Center on October 12. The goal was to raise funds for the organization. The success of the night went well beyond that stated goal.

Ticket sales were nowhere close to where event organizers wanted to be. But they did not waiver.

 “I would have loved to see more people there. But the people who came demonstrated tremendous support for the event, and I think that’ll translate into support for the program. Next year will be even bigger and better,” said Executive Director Eric Litwiller.

He is all but committing to a second year.

We hope there is one. While it is a fund-raiser for a non-profit, this event is so much more than that. It is a chance for fathers to carve out time for their daughters — or mothers for sons, or grandparents for grandchildren. You get the point.

Some fathers who carved that time out were affected deeply that night. Multiple men shed tears as they exited the dance floor — knowing they were getting something special and worth millions more than the ticket price paid for the night.

CASA serves abused and neglected children throughout Harvey and McPherson counties using adult volunteers. The $4,500 raised by Saturday’s event will go to train volunteers to respond correctly to the situations that they see, and the questions they are asked by parents and kids when handling their case. CASA also employs one hourly, full-time staff person who reviews cases that come though the district court, recruits volunteers, and seeks the best possible match between the available volunteer base and the child in need of an advocate.

But those who were there know the night was much more than money raised for a cause. Some didn't even care — and that is as it should be. For them it was about making, or strengthening, a connection with a child.

We give kudos to the dads who brought their daughters — and got out on the dance floor with them. The same for the mothers and grandparents who attended.

Next year, we want to see more. Committed parents will lead to stronger future generations — and less need for organizations like CASA.

— Kansan editorial board