CASA Superhero Run
The inaugural 2013 CASA Superhero Run is slated for Sept. 21 at Bidwell Park in Chico and Nov. 2 at the Sundial Bridge in Redding. Runners and walkers will raise awareness for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a national program administered locally under the umbrella of Northern Valley Catholic Social Service to provide court advocacy for abused and neglected children.
“At any given time in Shasta County, there are more than 500 children removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect,” says Jake Mangas, development director for Northern Valley Catholic Social Service. “The goal of the CASA program is to give those children a voice and to see that each child assigned a volunteer advocate is placed in a safe, permanent home.”
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for abused and neglected children. Volunteers get to know the child and meet with the child’s family members, teachers, social workers, medical professionals—everyone who’s important in his or her life, Mangas says. By establishing a trusting relationship, the advocate becomes a strong voice for the child in the courtroom.
Volunteer advocates are asked to commit to a child until the case is closed, which lasts an average of 18 months, with an estimated time commitment of 10 hours per month. A background check, interview and training course is required, and CASA volunteers are sworn in as officers of the court.
Cases involving a CASA volunteer are more likely to be permanently and successfully closed than cases where a CASA volunteer is not involved, Mangas says. Nationwide, more than 2 million children have been helped by CASA. Many of these youth have overcome what once seemed insurmountable obstacles to go to college, establish careers and start their own healthy families.
The Superhero Run is a “borrowed” idea that has been successful in cities all over the country, and it centers on the theme that “every child needs a hero, but abused children need superheroes,” Mangas says.
“I think we are drawn to superheroes because they are often ordinary people who do extraordinary things and they inspire us,” Mangas says.
Participating children under age 10 will receive a cape, and they’ll be charged with chasing down a nasty villain. Awards will be presented for the best costumes. Need inspiration? Check out the CASA Superhero Run’s Facebook page for ideas, including pictures of local celebrities flying incognito as Wonder Woman, Superman and more.
“Certainly, anyone is a superhero who makes a difference in the life of an abused or neglected child,” Mangas says. “This event helps to recognize the superhero within.”
The events are sponsored by Cornerstone Community Bank, Teamwork HR & O2 Staffing, West Coast Innovations, Dutch Bros., Fleet Feet and the Active 20-30 Club-Chico. •
Chico CASA Superhero Run• Sept. 21, Lower Bidwell Park Race day registration: 7 to 8:30 am Little Heroes Dash (ages 10 and younger): 8:30 am 5K: 9 am
Redding CASA Superhero Run • Nov. 2, Sundial Bridge Race day registration: 7 to 8:30 am Little Heroes Dash (ages 10 and younger): 8:30 am 5K: 9 am