It’s a dance-off: Cakes for CASA looks to help locals

Eric Nickeson-Mendheim

Dance crew Money in the Cow (from left: Alixander Bowman '11, Matt McMillan '12, Thomas Knook '12, Quinn Taylor '11 and Graham Toben '10) prepare for the Cakes for CASA dance-off. Credit: Bullion

Dance crew Money in the Cow (from left: Alixander Bowman '11, Matt McMillan '12, Thomas Knook '12, Quinn Taylor '11 and Graham Toben '10) prepare for the Cakes for CASA dance-off. Credit: Bullion

This Friday, Nov. 13, the Kappa Alpha Theta women’s fraternity plans to step up its annual Cakes for CASA fundraiser by adding a contest to find Whitman’s best dance crew.

The event, in its fifth year, raises money for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children.  CASA volunteers assist abused or neglected children as they navigate court proceedings and foster care.  In previous years, Theta has used an all-you-can-eat buffet of pancakes and a raffle to raise funds. This year they’re trotting out an additional feature.

“This is the first year we’re going to do Whitman’s Best Dance Crew,” said junior Theta Co-Philanthropy Chair Tegan Klein. “The goal with Whitman’s best dance crew, since it involves more Whitman students, is that we hope more people will come to see their friends. We really want to reach out to the entire campus.”

A panel of judges  composed of Alberto Galindo, assistant professor of foreign languages & literatures––Spanish, Elizabeth Vandiver, associate professor of classics, Brenda Sanchez, annual fund officer, and  Laura Cummings,  senior assistant for off-campus studies, will determine the winning group. That group  will  open Saturday night’s Street Dance Showcase, a performance  sponsored by WEB featuring dance crews from Portland and Vancouver. The Thetas will have a table there to continue raising money for CASA.

For junior Theta Co-Philanthropy Chair Annie Horman, the importance of Cakes for CASA is helping children.

“When [children] are going through the court system and being tossed from one family to the next, they at least have one constant adult role model,” she said. “[Advocates] usually also have quite a bit of sway in the court decision as to what family [the child] should go to or if the child should go back to their original family.”

CASA is a national organization based in Seattle.  The Thetas will donate Cakes proceeds to the Walla Walla chapter, which is  facing a funding crunch due to  the recent economic troubles.

“CASA is a really huge organization and it’s been an international Theta organization for 20 years,” said Horman. “We’re donating what we raise to the local Walla Walla chapter this year because of budget cuts; they have a lot less money than they used to and they don’t always get the federal funding. There are 1,000 CASA chapters and they don’t always get as much funding as they need.”

To better help CASA, Theta hopes to exceed last year’s fundraising totals.

“Last year we raised $2,000 and this year we’re hoping to raise a lot more,” said Klein. “It’s going to be $5 admission and the event is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Reid ballroom. We’re going to sell raffle tickets and we’re going to do a pre-sale event in Reid during lunch.”

The fraternity also hopes to expand its future fundraisers, which benefit various causes determined on a case-by-case basis.

“This is our main philanthropy event, but we try to do one each month,” said Horman. “Last year we started a car wash and we raised about $800. We’re hoping to make that a bigger event and make it annual.”