Theta raises whopping amount for CASA

Geoffrey Leach

On March 7, it was once again time for Kappa Alpha Theta’s annual fundraiser, Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew. Each year, Kappa Alpha Theta nationally raises money to support the Court Appointed Special Advocates program (CASA). The Whitman chapter of Theta women’s fraternity puts on Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew to fundraise for CASA in Walla Walla and Columbia County.

This year marks the 25th year that Kappa Alpha Theta has been partnered with CASA. CASA is a program that partners volunteers with neglected and abused children. These volunteers, CASAs, act as stable adults in the children’s lives and provide support while working to get these children stable homes.

“They are the only person in the legal system who is specifically advocating on behalf of the child,” said advertising co-chair Caitlyn Yoshina.

There are many children in foster care that need the support of CASAs.

“In the United States, there are roughly 600,000 children in foster care. About 238,000 of them have CASAs, but that’s hardly enough. In Walla Walla and Columbia Counties alone, there are about 110 children in need of CASAs, and only 80 of them have them. The other 30 are split between the CASA coordinators Jeff Gwinn and Jane Sporleder. With the money we raise at the show, they will be able to support at least 10 children in need,” said coordinator junior Samantha Grainger-Shuba.

Last year total fundraising for CASA reached over 4,600 dollars. This year Grainger-Shuba took over as the coordinator of WWBDC. The women’s fraternity wanted to raise more than double the total fundraising from last year.

“I had a lot of freedom to figure out what I wanted from the event and how I wanted to achieve our goal, which was to raise 10,000 dollars,” said Grainger-Shuba.

Through letter writing and other forms of fundraising, Theta was able to raise money before the actual event itself. Through these methods and along with others, they managed to raise just shy of 10,000 dollars before the fundraising done at the event. They also made use of other methods of advertising the event, including a flash mob.

“We had a really successful GoFundMe campaign as well as a letter writing campaign to like relatives and friends and reaching out to local businesses … We already raised 9,500 dollars,” said Yoshina

At the event they added 2,500 dollars to make the total fundraising 13,000 dollars, surpassing their goal. They accomplished this through selling tickets, asking for donations, selling raffle tickets for prizes from local businesses and by having audience members pin money onto tape to support their favorite act.

The actual event contained eight dance performances: Social Dance Club, Whitman Dance Team, Filipino Cultural Dancers, RAs Off Duty, Brazilian Groove, Explosion, Lydia and Judelle and The Dance Center. It included a lot of different cultural influences as well as a lot of “Uptown Funk.” Not all of these performers came from Whitman and many came from the surrounding community. There were not very many regulations; however, they did have a guiding principle.

“We made sure they knew it was a family show,” said Entertainment Committee Head Lauren Vorona, who was in charge of off-campus dance crews.

For each performance there were three scores: a judge’s score, a people’s choice award and the overall Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew. Associate Professor of English Sharon Alker, Assistant Professor Dance Renee Archibald and Senior Lecturer of Philosophy Mitch Clearfield acted as judges. The people’s choice award was determined by audience donation. The Best Dance Crew was the judge’s score and the total donations combined.

The Dance Center won the people’s choice award, and Lydia and Judelle won the judge’s award. Explosion, a trio of high school students, won the title of Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew.

Although Theta managed to raise 13,000 dollars, like most other fundraising ventures, the women’s fraternity did not avoid trouble altogether. They just figured out how to manage the problems.

“Even with the best planning, things go wrong all the time. However, I had to learn not to wallow in failure and instead roll with the punches,” said Grainger-Shuba.

This event required the help of Greek life, the city of Walla Walla, Walla Walla University, Walla Walla High School, Whitman clubs, Residence Life and countless others. A community came together to support a good cause.

“We are really happy that community members could be involved. The community is very important. It’s Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew, not the Whitman Best Dance Crew,” said Vorona.