Many community members fondly remember Harold Casto, who for years ran Casto Oaks Winery with his wife, Kris Casto.
Harold passed away last year, but his passion for vocational education is benefiting students even now, after his death.
After Harold passed, Kris asked that contributions be made in Harold’s memory to the vocational arts in Mariposa County.
After receiving several donations, Kris donated $1,500 to the new afterschool program which is being offered to middle schoolers in the Mariposa County Unified School District.
Kris presented the check to program coordinator Rose Fluharty on March 11.
“This came about because my husband always felt strongly about educating people to go into the trades: whether it was nursing, medical or other,” said Kris. “When he started talking about the importance of trades and vocational studies, he would pull out his tape measurer from his pocket and ask how many students could read a tape measurer. He said we need to be teaching these skills to young kids and showing them the opportunity as something to consider as a career path.”
Kris said vocational skills are important because people “can fall back” on them and they provide “basic things to get through” life and provide for a family.
“You can always fall back on something you have been trained to do. His heart was in getting that in the schools so the kids would have more choice,” said Kris.
The new after school program which Casto donated to benefits middle school youth in the county by offering them positive after school activities. Many of those activities teach the children a vocational skill, such as cooking, art, multimedia or much more.
This grant-funded program is held on the Mariposa County High School campus after school and is open to school district middle schoolers from each school site.
“When he passed away, I knew that was what he felt strongly about, as far as donations,” Kris said. “I thought this would make him smile.”
To learn more about the afterschool program, search “MCUSD – AfterSchool for Middle School” on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.