Dancing Night Away for Joy


By TJ Millman

On September 22, 2016, Melody Booker-Wilkins, Sussex County Director of Economic Development, lost her battle with cancer. In her honor, the Melody Joy Foundation was created to help spread her love of laughter and desire to help others. Now, one year later, people across the state gathered to celebrate her infectious laugh, her witty sense of humor and her concern for others.

In celebration of her life and to raise funds for her foundation, Dancing in the Streets for Melody was held in the downtown of Melody’s hometown of Milford. The street was closed off, and tables lined down the road were full of guests eating, drinking, and sharing fond memories with one another. Melody’s sister, Kristi Carpenter, was in attendance for the event and was overjoyed with the amount of support for her late sister.

“Today has really touched my heart. My sister is a very important part of my life, and I thought that I would be terribly sad on the anniversary of her death. Seeing all of these people who genuinely care for her, it has just really touched my heart. I know she is looking down with her high heels on, and once we start dancing she will be right out there with us,” Carpenter said.

Dancing in the Streets for Melody and the Melody Joy Foundation were both created by John Ennis, and his goal is to give back, give joy and give good cheer in Melody’s name.


Photo by JR Ennis

Photo by JR Ennis
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“Melody Booker-Wilkins was a staple in our community. She lived her life to help others, and what better way to celebrate her life than with dancing the night away? Personally, to me, she was a mentor and a mother figure. She made a difference in every life that she touched, and many of those same people are here tonight. Each event from the Melody Joy Foundation will be focused around the different charities and boards that she sat on throughout the state,” Ennis said.

Proceeds from Dancing in the Streets for Melody will be given to Kent-Sussex Industries, an organization that was very close to Melody’s heart. Melody served on the Board of Directors and found the mission of KSI very important.
After dinner, Mike Hines and the Look took to the stage and the dancing began. All of the more than 100 people in attendance moved toward the stage and the celebration really began. The crowd was dancing together, and a magical joy filled the air that Melody, who was described by all as the life of the party, would have definitely approved of.

The Melody Joy Foundation is organized under the Delaware Community Foundation whose mission is to build a shared vision for Delaware grounded in knowledge, inspired by the common good and advanced through philanthropy. For more information, contact J.R. Ennis at the melodyjoyfoundation@gmail.com.

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