Bluegrass At The Pocahontas Opera House Benefits Abused And Neglected Kids

Marlinton, WV – You’re invited to the Pocahontas County Opera House on Friday, April 22nd for an evening of great bluegrass music, great food and giveaways. It’s a benefit concert to support services for abused and neglected children in Pocahontas County.

Kat Thompson is a Vista volunteer with the Children and Youth Advocacy Center or CYAC. Thompson gives a little background on the event.

“It’s a joint fundraiser that we’re doing with CASA, which is Court Appointed Special Advocates, and they also have an office here in Pocahontas County” she says. “And we work with them pretty often and decided to do a benefit concert. It’s an idea that Jenny Castle, their Director had come up with.”

Thompson says they had planned a similar concert last year, but it never came to fruition.

“They were telling me about it and I thought it was a great idea” she says. “You know, I really love the music scene here in Pocahontas County and thought that it would be a good way to raise some money for the kids.”

The mission of both the CYAC and CASA is to work with and ease the pain of kids caught up in cycles of abuse and neglect and the county court system. Thompson says the groups often work in tandem to ensure that kids are ready for the rigors of the court proceedings. In addition to her work with the CYAC, Thompson is also training to become a CASA volunteer.

“What they do is, they kind of present the fullest and most up to date portrait of the child in the case that’s being disputed in court” says Thompson. “They get assigned a case and they talk to everybody; they talk to family members, they talk to people within the legal system, they talk to health and medical services, mental health, teachers at school, they talk to the kids themselves. And they really track the case from the beginning of the investigation to the completion of all of the court proceedings until that child has a safe permanent residence.”

Thompson says CYAC often gets involved where there is possibility of criminal charges of abuse or neglect. They are able to do forensic interviews with children at their office in Marlinton, which may mean that the child doesn’t have to testify against their abuser in court.

Thompson says she hopes this concert will be the first of many annual events during April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. She credits Caleb Diller for getting the ball rolling on this year’s concert.

“And he’s the one that actually said yeah I think we should do it” she says. “He said, I’ll perform, I’ll get dad [Dwight Diller] to come in; so he’s been a great help in kind of lining up all of the music. Plus Lynmarie Knight not only offered to perform but she called in some additional acts; she talked to Paulo and Erica Marks for us and Corey Bonasso.”

“So yeah, it really came together. I feel very fortunate that we live in a community it’s pretty easy to assemble this kind of thing.”

Other acts scheduled to perform at the concert include Doug Scott, Alan Dutchess, David Kershner, and Terry Richardson. They will raffle off several giveaways such as a IPOD Nano, 2 nights at Watoga State Park and $25.00 off of a meal at Elk River Touring Center among others. Winners in the county-wide school art contest will also be announced that night.

The CYAC/CASA Bluegrass Benefit Concert is Friday, April 22nd from 7 to 9pm at the Pocahontas Opera House in Marlinton. Admission is $6.00. Come out and enjoy great music while supporting a great cause.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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