WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, Inc. is proud to promote Kayak for CASA, an inaugural event.

Community members are invited to take part in a day filled with kayaking, food trucks, live entertainment, and more.

This event will take place on the popular Wheeling Water Trail on Big Wheeling Creek.

In a release, CASA stated, that the goal is to promote the CASA organization while showcasing the recreational waterways of the Northern Panhandle.

“Our staff has been happily planning this event over the past 2 years as they spent time with family and friends on Wheeling’s waterways during the pandemic. Kayak for CASA is such a great way to have a family-friendly fundraiser, raising money and awareness of the services CASA provides” says Susan Harrison, Executive Director for CASA for Children.

The event is dedicated to increasing awareness of the programs and services of CASA for Children and motivating passionate individuals to become CASA volunteers and to change a child’s story.

The sponsors include AD Baker Homes, Orrick, Jones Electric, and Main Street Bank.

There are more than 750 programs nationwide and 10 programs in West Virginia.

CASA for Children, served more than 500 children last year in Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, and Tyler Counties.

“We recruit volunteers to become CASA advocates for children in foster care, and we are hopeful this event will provide individuals the opportunity to learn more about our organization and how they can help abused and/or neglected children in our communities,” said Kristen Paynter, CASA Program Coordinator and Lead Staff on the Kayak for CASA fundraiser.

In addition to providing volunteer advocates, CASA supports biological, foster, and kinship families through programs that support basic needs as well specialty items to make children’s transitions in care easier.

This includes pajamas, books, and toiletries; back to school bags and school supplies; Birthday, Christmas, and Easter presents; as well as Prom, Homecoming, and Graduation clothing.

CASA supports the home study process by helping to provide funding for beds, cribs, car seats, and fire alarms/extinguishers.

The event will take place on Sunday, May 22, 2022, and tickets are $25/per person.

Day of Event Schedule:

  • 9:00 A.M. – Yoga instructed by Joelle Moray
  • 10:00 A.M – Water Safety Course instructed by Darlene Stuckey and Janna Gordon
  • Brunchie Barista Food Truck will be available during the morning for participants and members of the general public that wishes to stop by!
  • 10:30 A.M. –Transportation to starting point provided by SouthPaw Outfitters and GrandVue Park. Kayak Float from the Coal Bridge, Marshall Co. to Wheeling’s Italian American Club
  • Following the float, you will find Southpaw Eatz, Tripps Fun Zone, and live music at the Italian American Club. We invite you to come join us, regardless of participation in the float.

With more than 6600 West Virginian children in foster care, their mission is to provide quality volunteers who advocate for these children and see to the best interest of the children we serve.

“Being in foster care is living in a constant state of flux.  Homes, schools, families… everything is always changing, often suddenly and without warning,” said Melissa, Former Foster Youth.  “The only constant was my CASA volunteer.  Without her, I would have been lost in the system,” she added.