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Empowering and Enriching the Lives of Youth


Ashley Barber is committed to empowering and enriching the lives of youth in the community by presenting positive events and mentoring through her organization, Divine Hearts. Barber, a single mother of three daughters, was born and raised in Peoria. As a young girl she fondly remembers one place where families could attend, and that was Proctor Center Talent Shows. Barber moved to St Louis for a time and when she returned to Peoria, she wanted to promote positive events that focused on the family and the community at large. “It’s a bit stressful putting these events together on your own, but the smiles on the children’s faces are priceless and that makes it all worthwhile,” stated Barber. One of her first events was the “Daddy/Daughter Dance” held in February 2015. It was a tremendous success and has since become an annual event.

Photo Caption: Pictured l to r: Carmora Robinson (8), Nevaeh Robinson (6), Heaven Robinson (8), Neziah Clark (5), Tanesha Hughes as (Princess Tiana), and Kynleana Stone (10) Photo by Willie Little III

One of the attendees at this year’s dance was, Ray Williams who attended with his daughter. He stated, “A girls first love should come from her father.  Fathers leave a first impression on their daughter on how she should be treated as a woman. A father missing out of his daughters’ life may cause a child to look elsewhere to fill a void out in the world. Every girl wants to be a daddy’s girl and wants to feel like a princess. It’s up to us as men to teach our daughters how important and strong they are and how much impact they have out here in the world.” 

Another event organized by Barber was the, “River City Throwdown Dance Competition” in 2016. This event was touted as the biggest dance competition Peoria has ever seen, for grades K-12. Categories included: Hip Hop, Creative Dance, Field Show Poms, Trio Call Out Battle, Coaches Battle, and Stand Battle. She has also held events for ages four and up called, “Story Time with Elsa and Pajama Party.”

For more information about Divine Hearts please visit