CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – For this year’s Nexstar Founder’s Day, 12 News is Partnering with the United Way of Harrison and Doddridge Counties for its Day of Action. One of the agencies that benefit from the United Way is Harrison County CASA.

CASA is a non-profit organization helping kids from Harrison County and beyond who are part of the foster care system feel more comfortable, help give them a voice, and help make recommendations to the judge.

Alisha Madia, Executive Director of Harrison County CASA, said, “We recruit and then train just everyday citizens to advocate for the best interest in children that are in the foster care system. So, they go through a 30-hour training as a volunteer, and then they are appointed to one child abuse case where they can be that child’s champion from the time that they enter foster care until they achieve permanency.”

CASA has an office on the first floor of the Harrison County Board of Education building, where they offer a safe space for foster families to come and meet, as well as talk about things going on.

“In addition to providing advocacy to children, we want to fill in gaps in the community and make sure that children’s needs are met, such as out foster closet, where we can provide clothing or diapers, things of that nature that a child might need,” said Madia. “We have a visitation center where families can come together in a safe environment while they learn ways to heal.”

Madia said in this line of work, some days are hard.

“The things that you see when you come in here every day, some of it absolutely will just rip your heart out. It’s unimaginable what some children experience when it should be the happiest time in their life.”

But some days are great.

“Our advocates and children can interact, and you see those children just light up, and the change of them when they’re in a healthy environment, or when the family has been able to find healing, what a difference that makes.’

Madia said that without the United Way, CASA would be a much different place for kids.

“Their support in the community giving to the United Way ultimately helps agencies like us and allows us to spend more time providing the direct service versus being out there trying to fundraise and raise those funds on our own. So, that’s a huge piece for us in that support.”

WBOY’s Founder’s Day of Caring will be on Friday, June 17, and employees of 12 News will be volunteering their time to help clean up and feed Harrison County alongside the United Way.