Glue, scissors, patterned paper and laughter filled WSU’s Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house Wednesday night as the women constructed birthday scrapbook pages for neglected and abused children represented by the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.
Kappa Alpha Theta donates money and services to the Whitman County Friends of CASA program, which currently helps about 30 to 35 children as a part of their main philanthropy project.
“Some of the kids walk out of their home with nothing but their socks, underwear, shirts and shorts,” said Axie Dompier, Kappa Alpha Theta’s community service manger. “The money we give them helps buy clothes and school supplies.”
Kappa Alpha Theta’s Rock the CASA program in September raised $4,000, which is 95 percent of CASA’s funds for this year, said Quincy Thomas, Kappa Alpha Theta’s public relations manager. That event at their house included a burrito bash, a $5 entry fee and performing bands. She said a scarf, mitten and hat drive may happen this winter.
“This project and the projects coming up will get our foot in the door for future plans like a possible back-to-school drive next year,” Thomas said. “Tonight, we were actually able to explain what CASA is a bit more to the women and each service project we do is going to be getting a little more in depth with what we actually give to CASA.”
Jill Wahl, the Whitman County CASA representative, said CASA is a judge-appointed volunteer program that provides advocates for neglected and abused children while they go through the legal and social services systems. She said Friends of CASA is a nonprofit organization that provides essential resources to support the relocated children in foster care until a safe and
permanent home is located.
“The support from the community may mean that a child is able have nice clothes and a backpack full of school supplies for the first day of school,” Wahl said. “In short, it means that even though they are in foster care, they are able to have and do things that their friends and classmates do as part of a normal childhood.”
Wahl said the fundraising Kappa Alpha Theta does for Friends of CASA covers fees for resources including tutoring, special training for CASA volunteers to improve child advocacy, specialized training for care givers and equipment for extracurricular activities. She said their fundraising is essential.
The birthday pages Kappa Alpha Theta created go with Friends of CASA’s Birthday in a Bag project, Thomas said. The pages have boxes so they can write memories of that birthday, and the bags include items like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, balloons, cups, plates and a camera.
“The items are the things the kids have never had,” Thomas said. “The lady from CASA was telling us she has never seen a 17-year-old kid get so excited about having Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”
Senior elementary education major Abby Lane said after fundraising and sending money to CASA, it is nice to finally see a product the children will actually use. She said being part of a child’s birthday is special to her.
“Personally, I can’t imagine not celebrating my birthday as a kid,” Lane said. “It is a good feeling to be able to take time out of my busy schedule to come down and make pages for kids who aren’t growing up with what I was fortunate enough to grow up with.”
Dompier said they provide a lot of money through fundraising for Friends of CASA, but taking time to create items like the pages saves the program the money they would otherwise have to spend on the materials themselves. She said by demonstrating the pages to other members and alumni of the sorority, they hope to enhance awareness of CASA.
“I feel like this project is giving the women more of a connection to CASA,” Dompier said. “Yeah, we don’t know what the kids look like or their names, but this is more personal because we are making something for them individually.”