Funds Shortage May Close CASA

CASA for Children Inc., a non-profit volunteer based organization based in Moundsville that trains community members to become Court Appointed Special Advocates who will speak up for the best interest of abused and neglected children in the Courts of Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel and Tyler Counties, has lost two federal funding sources and as a result the agency might be forced to close.

Executive Director Susan J. Harrison states, “For the first time in 12 years our program is looking at the very real possibility that we may shut our doors. We need community support to keep our doors open until July 1 when our next grant cycle begins. Federal and state grant dollars are being cut. Individual and corporate donations are more vital to our program.

“In our most recent three fiscal years our program, which serves the four counties, has been funded primary through federal funding … one grant passed down through the National CASA Association and one grant passed down through a state Justice Assistance Grant.”

She explained that, “From the start of this fiscal year (July 1, 2012), we knew that those two grants (totaling about $62,000) would not be available. We began funding raising immediately.”

“We are continuing our fund raising drive with four events to occur in the next six weeks,” Harrison said.

The local CASA office operates with a full-time director and one part-time volunteer coordinator.

There are 12 such programs in West Virginia, serving 30 counties, and each of the programs is an independent non-profit linked by a state network and the National Association. The National Association sets forth the standards to which all CASA programs must adhere.

This is National Volunteer Month, with National Volunteer Week to be observed April 21-27.

One agency which is seeking volunteers is the Marshall County Health Department, which provides training for its volunteers, with some of it in conjunction with the Marshall County Office of Emergency Management.

The Health Department also notes that it is important that people who dedicate themselves as volunteers be honored.

National Volunteer Week, which was established in 1974, is a time to celebrate volunteers and thank them for their services. National Volunteer Week brings together people from all walks of life who make a difference.

It is pointed out that there are many ways to get involved and do something positive, whether it is reading to a child, playing music at a senior center, painting offices at a local non-profit organization, serving on an event planning committee, volunteering at a fire department or helping in assisting a community in times of disaster or emergency. A person can combine his or her unique talents and interests with the amount of time available to give.

Don’t forget this week is National Library Week, during which anyone who has books and materials belonging to the three libraries in Marshall County can return them fine-free.

The theme for the week, established by the American Library Association, is Communities Matter@Your Library.

There will be several special events taking place at the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library.

On Monday, there will be a “Living History” performance which dates back to the mid-1800s. Debra Conner, an actor/educator from Parkersburg, will perform as American poet Emily Dickinson.

There will be a craft program at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday for school-age children. The Earth Day-theme craft will turn a cereal box into a tote bag.

Preschool story times will be held from 11-11-45 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and from 1-1:45 p.m. Wednesday for children ages 3-5 who will listen to stories, sing songs, play games and do simple art projects.

Also, at 4 p.m. Thursday, there will be the screening of “Lincoln” the 2012 critically-acclaimed and award-winning film set during the Civil War.

A town hall-style Community Awareness Seminar for all Moundsville residents will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Moundsville Training Center within the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary.

The agenda for this month’s meeting will include presentations and discussion of projects which include the Moundsville Comprehensive plan and the development of Moundsville’s riverfront.

Anyone wishing additional information can contact contact councilman Dave Wood at 304-650-6611 or event organizer Tyler Poliquin at 774-219-5771.

The Graysville Community Association will sponsor a ramp dinner beginning at 11 a.m. April 27 at the community building. The sale of items will continue until the food is sold out.

The menu will include ramp soup, fried potatoes, soup beans, ham, eggs, hot dogs, dessert, and raw ramps.

Association spokesman Bob Riggenbach states, “Come enjoy a West Virginia country meal on Fish Creek.” The community building is located two miles from W.Va. 2 on Fish Creek Road. For more information call either 304-0744 or 304-845-0858.