BALTIMORE, Md—On Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, more than 190 runners (and walkers) joined Maryland CASA Association and local Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs as “Superheroes for Children” at the 17th Annual Baltimore Running Festival and raised nearly $50,000 to expand their advocacy services for abused and neglected children.
Maryland CASA Association supports the work of 15 CASA programs throughout the state that recruit and train volunteers who serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA volunteers are compassionate individuals who care about the well-being of abused and neglected children and work to ensure they find safe, permanent, and loving homes.
This year, “Team CASA” was comprised of 194 CASA supporters, volunteers, and board members from throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, as well as California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.
“We were thrilled to have more than 190 runners and walkers join Team CASA for this year’s Baltimore Running Festival,” said Ed Kilcullen, Maryland CASA’s state director. “This group of CASA supporters came from all walks of life but were united in their desire to raise awareness and funds to help more of Maryland’s children reach safe and permanent homes.”
Sporting “Team CASA” race shirts and “Superheroes for Children” accessories, this year’s team featured runners of all ages, including:
- Lisa Lunghofer (Gaithersburg, Md) – Maryland CASA’s former Board President and long-term child advocate who has participated in the Running Festival for Team CASA for many years. While she no longer serves on Maryland CASA’s board, Lisa is still dedicated to the cause, having raised over $2,500 this year.
- Angel Brown & Yvette “Nikki” Winn (Baltimore, Md) – CASA volunteers in Baltimore City and Baltimore County who have ran with Team CASA for the past 5 consecutive years. They both chose to get involved with CASA simply for their love for children and desire to make a difference for those in need. Prior to joining Team CASA, the two had never met. In the years that they’ve ran the 5K together, however, they’ve become very close friends. This year, the duo raised nearly $1,000 in support of Team CASA.
- Chantelle Bowen (Crofton, Md) – A four-year returning Team CASA runner who heard about the team in her local newspaper. Although Chantelle is not a sworn-in CASA volunteer advocating for a child, her dedication to CASA is unwavering, having raised nearly $800 to support the team this year.
“It was fantastic to experience the high energy and enthusiasm that our runners and volunteers brought to the event,” said Rhonda Jones, Ed.D., Maryland CASA’s board president who ran the 5K. “We cannot thank them enough… Their participation goes a long way toward increasing awareness of CASA – and their donations help us to continue to provide key services for children in foster care.”
How to Help
Despite having over 1,300 volunteers serving in Maryland, only 1 in 5 of the approximately 4,700 children under the protection of the courts has an advocate speaking up for their best interests. To learn how you can help children in your community or to make a donation, visit www.marylandcasa.org/get-involved. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older and willing to commit to at least one year of advocacy. No special educational background or experience is required.
About Maryland CASA Association
Maryland (Court Appointed Special Advocates) CASA Association is the statewide organization for 15 local CASA programs that recruit and train volunteers to advocate for children in the child protection system. Last year, 1,371 CASA volunteers served 1,589 children in 21 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. Maryland CASA supports the local CASA programs by providing training and technical assistance to program staff, board, and volunteers, as well as increasing public awareness of CASA and assisting with program development. For more information about Maryland CASA or becoming a CASA volunteer, visit www.marylandcasa.org or call 410-828-6761.