The Power to Move Forward

Court Appointed Special Advocates of the Coastal Bend hosts the 11th Annual Superheroes Race Against Child Abuse in an effort to help children in foster care find safe and loving permanent homes.

By: Samantha Koepp-Stemplinger
Photos by: Paul Marshall

The clock does not stop for children who have been abused and neglected and are placed in foster care. They are always wondering when and if they will find a forever home. To help end the waiting for these children and give them the power to move forward, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Coastal Bend is enlisting all of the superheroes in our community to join forces at the 11th Annual CASA Superhero 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at 8 a.m. at Heritage Park. All of the proceeds will go toward recruiting and training volunteers to advocate for the best interests of children in foster care in order to find them safe, loving permanent homes.

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Presented by the Edwards Law Firm, the 5K will be kicked off by Mayor Nelda Martinez and State Rep. Todd Hunter. In addition to the 5K, there is a Kids’ 1K, a costume contest for both big and little superheroes and an exhibitors’ area full of family-friendly activities provided by community partners. Awards will be presented to the top finishers of their respective categories for the 5K run. Last year, more than 600 superheroes united to raise over $40,000 to support local children in foster care. The goal for this year is to have more than 1,000 individuals participate in the event.

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More than 740 children were in CPS custody in 2014 – enough to fill 30 elementary classrooms. Of those children, only 40 percent had a CASA to speak up for them in court. CASA’s mission is to provide an advocate for every child in foster care, and in order to do so, the organization needs more volunteers. CASA volunteers are given an in-depth, professional training that prepares them to be assigned to one case at a time. They get to know the child and everyone in the child’s life so they can make recommendations to the judge that helps determine the child’s fate.

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To register for the CASA Superhero 5K Run/Walk, visit www.casaofthecoastalbend.org. For adults who register before March 31, the registration fee is $25. Beginning April 1, the fee increases to $30, then on April 28, it is $40 and the day of the event, the race fee is $45. For children ages 12 and under participating in the 5K, the fee is $10. The Kids’ 1K is for children ages 8 and under, with a registration fee of $10 per child. Registration can be done in-person at the CASA office, submitted through mail or completed online up to April 27 (a processing fee will be applied to online orders). For more information call the CASA office at 361-884-2272.

CASA of the Coastal Bend trains volunteers to advocate for the best interest of children who have been abused or neglected and are in the foster care system. The next training begins on March 1. For more information about CASA or to sign up for training, contact Samantha Koepp-Stemplinger at samantha@coastalbendcasa.org, call 361-884-2272 or visit www.casaofthecoastalbend.org.

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