Abby Casto, a Buckhannon-Upshur High School student with deep roots to Lewis County, was nominated to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum: Law and CSI (a.k.a. Envision) in Washington, D.C. this summer. It is an opportunity the aspiring lawyer said was invaluable to helping her prepare for her future.
“I have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity so rare that I have never known one person who has attended this program,” Casto said.
Envision is a forum taking place July 7-12, July 14-19, and July 21-26, focusing on law and crime scene investigation. Participants spend six days at the nation’s capital with experts in the field who will share invaluable teachings via hands-on experience to help students reach their potential. Completion of the program will make Casto and other select participants across the country eligible for college credit from George Mason University.
“The only problem is the tuition cost is very high and hard to pay for,” Casto said.
She has received some donations from family and friends and has been making monthly payments, but collecting the sum each month has been a challenge.
The program’s tuition is $2,595, and that doesn’t factor in the cost of some meals, the business-style attire she will be required to wear to the program, or optional plane tickets to and from the program. Tuition covers room and board, materials, site visits, transportation during the program, curriculum, lectures and simulations. This fundraiser is essential to assisting Casto with her goal to attend.
In what free time she has leftover from working two part-time jobs, participating in choir and twirling, performing miscellaneous odd jobs, and attending school, she enjoys painting, especially the liquid art technique.
“My granddaughter works way too hard for someone her age and she deserves the chance to go to this program,” said her grandmother, Terri Ryder. “We have had some small donations, mostly from other family members, but are far from reaching our goal and time is running out.”
A fluid art acrylic pour walk-in workshop will be held on Sunday, May 5, from noon to 5 p.m., at Ember Arts in Weston. Particpants may stop in between those times and select a 6×8, 8×10, or 11×14 canvas to experience this technique with. The cost to participate ranges from $10-$25, depending on the canvas size you select.
Another business, Sam’s Pizza, has agreed to donate pizza boxes so you can take your wet painting home more easily. If you’d rather not try the pour yourself, Casto and her family members have made some of their own art to sell. Stop by the shop during the fundraiser and pick one out to take home.
Casto said she has been interested in becoming a lawyer for as long as she can remember, and even thinking about other career options doesn’t peek her interests nearly as much as law has done her entire life. Every aspect of law captivates her interests, and Casto is having a difficult time choosing between criminal law, family law, and the various other tracts in the field, and hopes this program can help her narrow down her choices.
If you can’t make it out to support Casto in the fundraiser you can still donate via the Facebook fundraiser: Abby’s Envision Fundraiser, just visit www.facebook.com/donate/2242388006001644/
You can also mail a check for tuition made out to her grandmother, Terri Ryder, 60 Craig St., Apt. 308, Weston, WV 26452. You can make an anonymous donation to a Citizen’s Bank account set up for her trip. Just stop by Citizens Bank and ask to make a deposit in the joint account of Terri Ryder and Abby Casto.
To find out more about Envision, visit www.envisionexperience.com/explore-our-programs/national-youth-leadership-forum-law-and-csi.