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Honoring 9/11 and Helping Children with ‘Coats for CASA’

On Friday, September 22, the University will host a community service project in collaboration with a local organization, the Court Appointed Support Advocates of the Eastern Panhandle (CASA). “Coats for CASA” aims to collect and package winter coats, hats, gloves, and indoor activity products for children.

This project is sponsored by two student organizations: the University’s chapters of the West Virginia Students’ Alliance (WVSA) and the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Annually, the University’s student and alumni organizations are encouraged to participate in Patriot Day, also known as the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Patriot Day honors the lives lost on September 11, 2001, and is dedicated to promoting of acts of kindness, compassion, and service to the community.

Since 2018, WVSA has been working in the local community to provide services to patrons and organizations in need. Other partnerships have included:

  • Jefferson County Schools
  • The Ranson Civic Center
  • The Boys and Girls Club of America
  • Harpers Ferry National Park Service

In 2022, the University awarded WVSA with a Legacy Project Plaque for its five-year commitment to supporting Jefferson County, West Virginia. Chapter leaders say that they intend to carry the commitment forward, expanding efforts and partnering with other constituencies.

CASA for the Eastern Panhandle

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are volunteers who make a life-changing difference for children and youth. They advocate for the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect.

CASA volunteers participate in comprehensive training, and they are supported by a dedicated staff team. These volunteers work with child welfare professionals, educators, and service providers to ensure that judges have the information they need to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.

CASA volunteers help children find safety, permanency, and the road home, wherever it lies. Children who have a CASA volunteer spend less time in foster care, are less likely to re-enter foster care, and do better at school.

Related: Writing Academic Papers Should Start with a Good Outline

Why Coats for CASA and CASA’s Other Activities Are Important

Coats for CASA is one of many ways that community members can help support the mission of CASA. Interested community members can volunteer or donate to the cause directly through the CASA website.

WVSA’s chapter advisor, Holli Fergus, has a special connection with CASA. Holli has been a CASA advocate for over five years.

Holli was first introduced to CASA through the foster care system and formed great relationships with the CASA volunteers in her life. She says “Working with CASA has a special place in my heart. Providing children who need love, care, understanding, and support the most when they’ve been abused or neglected cannot be overlooked. CASA always needs more volunteers and if you cannot volunteer, this is a great organization for donations.”

Related: Random Acts of Reading: R.E.A.D. Book Club Commemorates 9/11

Student Organizations at the University

WVSA is one of more than 75 student organizations at the University, each with its own mission and community agenda. WVSA is committed to community engagement, awareness, service, and education.

WVSA invites students and alumni who live or work in West Virginia to participate in their annual activities and events. WVSA chapter leaders can be contacted directly by emailing

According to Amy Everson, Director of Student and Alumni Affairs, “Service projects hosted by student organizations allow chapter members to come together around a shared cause and give back to the community, even from a distance. Students and alumni use the connections they create through organizations and the activities and projects they plan to build their professional and personal networks. At the same time, they feel a sense of their feelings of belonging and connection to the University.”

Thousands of students have joined one or more of these student organizations that are focused on:

  • Academic excellence
  • Professional and pre-professional interests
  • Culture
  • Faith and spiritual connections
  • Military and military affiliations
  • Volunteering and community service

All these group share a commitment to create meaningful experiences for their members. Coats for CASA is just one among many notable events and activities supported by student organizations annually at the University.

To find out more about our student organizations and community engagement at the University, visit the Student Activities page. If you are interested in donating directly to CASA and helping to further their mission, a donation form is available online.

Amanda Wilson joined the University in 2008 after four years of teaching and coaching in Jefferson County, West Virginia. Amanda serves as the Associate Vice President of Student and Alumni Affairs, developing and expanding co-curricular programming and engagement opportunities for students and alumni primarily at a distance. Amanda is currently pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in organizational leadership and holds a master’s degree in business and a bachelor’s degree in English. She is currently one of the chapter advisors of the West Virginia Students’ Alliance.

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