(May 15, 2015) Lower Shore CASA and Sunset Grille in West Ocean City are set to host the 7th annual Pirate Party on Friday from 5-8 p.m.
The event, featuring a silent auction, gold bar auction and 50/50 raffle, will raise money for the Berlin-based program, a division of Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, which recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children.
Tickets are $15 and include entrance to the event and food. Animal House will provide live entertainment.
The annual Pirate Party doubles as a challenge to volunteers and community members who have pledged to raise $500 each for CASA – or walk the plank.
Maria Cusimano, CASA volunteer coordinator, took the challenge with a little help from her mother.
“I am happy to say that we will not be walking the plank and have raised over $500,” she said. “A lot of people have worked really hard to make this event possible and it means so much to us to have such great support from the community.”
Cusimano attended the 2014 Pirate Party, but said she is more excited this year because of her ties to the program.
“I have come to love this program and I truly think it benefits the children in our community that need it the most,” she said. “The grant that funds our program is a 100 percent match, so in order to receive the funds, we have to match it dollar to dollar. The wonderful pirates, sponsors, and donations that we receive for the event allow us to keep the program running.”
Cusimano’s mother hoped the two could wear matching costumes to the party.
“Unfortunately, I mean fortunately, we found different costumes,” she quipped.
Several other members of the community have campaigned on behalf of the Berlin-based nonprofit during the drive, including WYFCS Board Member Greta Del Corro
“I’m motivated to help out with the pirate party because 100 percent of the proceeds go back into our local community helping those that need it most – abused and neglected children,” Del Corro said. “Giving these children an advocate can make such a powerful impact on the rest of their lives.
Del Corro, who plans to attend the party in costume, is also hosting a “Burpee-A-Thon” fundraiser at CrossFit Ocean City to raise additional money for CASA.
District 2 Berlin Councilmember Lisa Hall also plans to come out in pirate clothing.
“The CASA program is one of the most important programs in Worcester County and the State of Maryland,” Hall said. “The sexual abuse of our children in society today is unacceptable. I am reaching out to all mothers, grandmothers, aunts, elected women in politics, women judges, women prosecutors, women parole board members and asking them to step up and make these predators accountable. Laws need to be changed to protect the victim – not the accused.”
Volunteer Ed Battisfore plans to attend because he has “some time and some money to put into action.”
“If I saw a child in the street unattended or unfed, or in a T-shirt and diapers while it was snowing I would not just drive on by,” Battisfore said. “I would stop to assist or protect that child from harm. I know that most people in Worcester County feel the same way and would do the same thing if they saw such a child. Knowing that these children exist in our community behind closed doors … for me to turn my head would be the same as driving by.
“Spreading the word of the existence of these children through volunteering and fundraising gives other people in Worcester County the opportunity to get out of their car and join the effort to save our children with whatever time or money each person can spare,” Battisfore added.
The pirate party is a fun evening for all who attend and supports the work that must be done.”
Savannah Kinavey, also a volunteer with CASA, stressed the importance of the event during a time when public money for programs is especially difficult to obtain.
“The funds from this single event contribute so much to the program’s ability to add to the community,” she said. “The program lets me help the children in the community I live in, allows me to stay active in the court system and teaches me something new all the time.”
For more information, call 410-641-4598 or visit www.gowoyo.org/court-appointed-special-advocate.