Published On: Fri, May 2nd, 2014

Every child needs a hero, but abused children need superheroes!

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CASA 5K kids’ run May 24 in White Sulphur Springs

Calling all Superheroes! May is National Foster Child Awareness Month and you can help show your support. CASA asks that superheroes of all ages gather at White Sulphur Springs Elementary School for a 5K, kids’ run on Saturday, May 24. Bring your family and join our league of superheroes! White Sulphur Springs is the home of the historic Greenbrier Hotel and the race is in tandem with the annual West Virginia Dandelion Festival held there on Memorial Day weekend. The race will benefit CASA of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, which serves Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties. Prizes will be awarded for the best costume and the best family/group costumes.

Trophies for the 5K are the top 3 males/females in each category: 15 and under, 16-20, 21-30, 31-40 and 40 and over.

Imagine losing your parents, friends, and even your home as a child, not because of something you did, but because of something your parents did – neglected to take care of you. You do not have your favorite shirt, lucky socks or sometimes even your own clothes. Everything you love and are familiar with is now gone. Now into your life comes dozens of strangers: police, social workers, foster parents, lawyers, Judges, CASA Volunteers, forensic interviewers, domestic violence counselors, and so on. How powerless and out of control one must feel for being “punished” because their parents did not take care of them. These children did nothing wrong, yet they lose everything. Every 36 seconds, a child is abuse or neglected in the USA. Every hour a child is abused or neglected in West Virginia.

In the shadows of daily life, there are abused and neglected children who live right here in Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties. She may be the little girl in a kindergarten class who had to move homes and change schools three or four times in the last year. He may be the lonely child at the park who doesn’t join the game. She maybe a newborn child lying alone in the hospital going through withdrawal from the drugs her mommy used while pregnant.  Whatever the circumstances, these children deserve a fighting chance.

CASA is a national nonprofit organization which trains and supports volunteers to speak out and act as advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children. We are trained to work within the child welfare and circuit court systems and are appointed by judges to individual cases. With the help of a CASA volunteer, a child is half as likely to languish in the foster care system, and that much more likely to find a safe and permanent home.

Throughout the US, the CASA program network has been so effective that it now has more than 70,000 volunteers serving almost 1,000 programs in almost every court system in the United States. 13 programs statewide cover 30 counties. There were 1598 WV children served by CASA in 2011 with 288 active Volunteer Advocates who contributed over 14,724 hours. This is an outstanding reflection of the kind of change that’s possible when the public, private and nonprofit sectors join forces. CASA is not CPS; we do not represent the Department of Health and Human Resources; we are not attorneys, so we are not tied by red tape. CASA is able to look at each case independently.  Statistics show that a child who has a CASA volunteer has a stay in foster care that is three months shorter than average.

To register, visit www.active.com/running/white-sulpur-springs-wv/casa-superhero-5-k-family-fun-walk-run-2014 or iplayoutside.com or call CASA at 304-645-5437.

The Race Course: Start at WSS Elementary School; Left on Ingleside Avenue; Left on Main Street; Right on Palm Avenue; Right on Patterson Street; Left on Greenbrier Avenue; Right on Memorial Street; Bear left road changes to Villa Avenue (1.3 miles); Left on Pine Gap Road; Cross Big Draft Road (2.1 miles); Left on Oak Street; Left on Garden Street; Right on Mill Hill Drive; Cross Rt. 60/Main Street onto Ingleside Avenue; Right on Mountain Avenue; End at WSS Elementary (3.1 miles).