Murder Mystery Dinner Theater fundraiser slated

PARKERSBURG – The ninth annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theater fundraiser for the local Voices for Children Court-Appointed Special Advocate Program is scheduled for Nov. 14.

There will be a hospitality/social starting at 6 p.m. with the movie and dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion on Ohio Avenue.

“We’ll have a 1930-1940-era ‘who-dun-it” showing,’ said Margaret Burdette, executive director for the nonprofit program.

Patrons will get a full course Outback Restaurant meal, including dessert. During the main course of the meal those attending will be asked to try to figure out who committed the crime and turn their ballots in for a chance to win prizes.

“We had the ‘Cat and Canary’ with Bob Hope last year. Duringa dessert they will see the wrap-up and find out who the real culprit was, then we will have a drawing with the names of those who guessed correctly and give out the prizes,” Burdette said.

Prizes this year include jewelry, a stay at the Blennerhassett Hotel, treatments at the Natural Remedies Day Spa, season tickets to the Actors Guild and gift certificates from area businesses.

There will be a raffle for jewelry during the dinner. All proceeds from the event will go to help cover the operational expenses of CASA.

The local program provides trained volunteers to act on behalf of children in abuse/neglect court proceedings. The nonprofit operates on a VOCA grant, local grants, contributions and fundraisers.

“These fundraisers are extremely important for the survival of the program,” Burdette said.

The program has been providing services since 1996. Through the program, adults are recruited, screened and trained as advocates for children in abuse/neglect court cases.

CASA workers go over reports, do research, meet with teachers, social service workers, the parents, other family members, whoever they need to speak to in relation to the case, then provide a report and written recommendation to the court.

There are about 10 trained volunteers working with the cases. Another training class is scheduled for this fall.

Burdette said she’s always looking for more volunteers. You must be 21, there is a background check and 30 hours of training spread over several sessions.

The volunteers work about 10 hours a month.

From January to mid-October this year the agency has had 116 new cases filed. Including the carryover cases, the agency is working with more than 300 children.

Burdette said last year the agency had about 182 new cases.

Tickets for this year’s dinner are $50 for a couple and $35 for a single. Reservations for the dinner can be made by calling the CASA office at 304-422-3390 or email voicesforchildrencasa@gmail.com.

For more information on the program or to sign up for the volunteer training, call the same number or email.