Fundraiser benefits organization focused on foster, kinship care

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Bar Board of Governors and the Young Lawyers Section held an information event and fundraiser Thursday benefiting an organization dedicated to helping foster families.

The event at Charleston’s Capitol Market focused on Mission West Virginia, an organization helping families with resources for foster care and provides programming to assist foster and kinship parents with the costs of raising children.

“Currently, we have 6,500 kids in care in West Virginia. About half of those children are being raised by relatives,” said Kylee Hassan, the marketing director for Mission West Virginia. “Raising awareness and funds allows us to help those children and families in the state.”

Mission West Virginia does receive grants from the state government and private organizations, but those funds must go directly toward helping raise children. Fundraisers like Thursday’s gathering raise money for items such as school field trips.

“It is vital to normalize childhood experiences for these kids,” Hassan said.

Gerald Titus, a member of the State Bar Board of Governors, said he did not fully understand the lives of children in foster care until his daughter told him about a student in her class. The child told Titus’ daughter she missed her mom and wanted to go home.

“She already saw herself as something different where she’s just a kid, but she’s saying, ‘I’m something different,'” Titus said of his daughter’s friend.

Titus continued, “[Mission West Virginia] is seeking to normalize the lives of children in care and give them the same experiences of their peers so they don’t miss out.”

Hassan said Mission West Virginia serves an important role in providing West Virginia children with childhood opportunities.

“Whether that’s us funding a child to go on a field trip or covering costs to go to a homecoming dance where they may not have gotten those same experiences because they are in foster care or kinship care,” she added.

Members of the state Supreme Court of Appeals also attended Thursday’s event.