One hundred forty volunteers, staff members and supporters of the Maryland CASA Association and local Court Appointed Special Advocate programs participated in the 2013 Baltimore Running Festival, raising over $43,000 to continue the Association’s advocacy services for children in foster care.
Ranging in age from 11-71, “Team CASA” members hailed from all over Maryland, as well as Brighton and Hingham in Ma.; La Jolla, Ca., Chantilly and McLean, Va.; Spring Grove and Glenside, PA, and Washington, DC.
Some of the participants included:
- Two members of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority: CASA is their selected national philanthropic cause.
- A 26-year-old Fells Point paraeducator who ran with her brother in honor of their cousins, who were severely injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing,
- A Mt. Airy volunteer who “hiked” the entire half-marathon route for the fourth year in a row,
- A group of 12 runners (three relay teams) led by a CASA volunteer from Bethesda,
- A CASA volunteer and Maryland CASA board member from Potomac who recruited 10 other runners to honor the memory of a friend who died of melanoma in May, and
- A new Maryland CASA board member from Laurel who ran in memory of her sister (now deceased) who was adopted into her family after living in foster care for years due to abuse and neglect by her biological mother.
With Capital One and Mars Supermarkets as platinum sponsors, this year’s event – the Association’s most successful fifth as a charity team in the festival – was its most successful to date.
“We had a great turnout and set a new fundraising record,” said Ed Kilcullen, Maryland CASA Association’s state director, who ran in the 5k race for the fifth time this year. “Though we came up short of our goal of $50,000, these donations will provide significant support for Maryland CASA’s services on behalf of the state’s abused and neglected children.”
Team CASA’s goals were twofold– to raise public awareness and to raise funds to support Maryland CASA’s efforts to recruit more volunteers to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates to represent the best interests of victims of child abuse and neglect.
Kilcullen believes that exposure at the Baltimore Running Festival helps to promote awareness of CASA, which is often confused with other organizations that use the same acronym.
“CASA is still a well-kept secret and we need to continually promote awareness to recruit additional volunteers until every child in need in Maryland is placed in a safe and permanent home,” he said.
Last year, nearly 400 individuals completed pre-service training, and CASA volunteers statewide served over 1,500 children. Despite having 1,000 volunteers serving in Maryland, 9 out of 10 of the approximately 10,000 children under the protection of the courts have no advocates speaking up for their best interests.
No special experience is required to become a CASA volunteer; training and supervision are provided by professional staff. Time spent volunteering is flexible and can be completed within the limits of even the most hectic schedule. The average time commitment is 10-15 hours per month.
Maryland CASA Association is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that supports the work of 15 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs serving children in Baltimore City and 18 counties throughout Maryland. For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer, visit www.MarylandCASA.org.