A Daddy/Daughter Dream, Shared and Amplified by an Online Community

Two years ago, Kathryn DiMaria asked her Father if she could build a Pontiac Fiero. She was twelve at the time. Now she’s fourteen, and doing just that.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonAfter spending $450 for an ’86, she and her Father started the long, laborious process of restoring it. But she’s not by herself in her Dad’s garage in Dearborn, Michigan because they are chronicling all of it on fiero.com, a site ‘for the Fiero community, by the Fiero community.’

Over the past two years, this community has all but adopted Kathryn. They follow her posts, sending along advice, suggestions, even auto parts. The sheer volume of content and responses fills twenty-three pages. An undeniable tone of paternal pride runs through the entries (along with a somewhat dispiriting display of atrocious spelling)–encouraging, teaching and fiercely partisan. It is the web at its best–selfless, generous and yes, loving. These followers are people united only by shared interests and values. And they rally around this determined young woman.

Yes, there’s the other, limb-mangling underbelly of the web, where trolls spout venom from their dark caves of anonymity, preying upon insecurities and belittling girls. But witnessing the human penchant for mutual support demonstrated in such a straightforward manner restores one’s faith in humanity. CNN recently published a nice write up of the project and the response has been universally positive, even wistful.

After all, who among us doesn’t want their daughters to grow up capable, independent and strong?  Who doesn’t want them to be cherished and protected, cheered and uplifted?  Nurtured, honored and valued.

Every now and then, we get it so right. Every once in a while, we get to see that it truly can take a village. And we are all better for it.  You go Kathryn.  And Happy Friday.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson