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DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

MARBLE FALLS — While not everybody can foster a child or volunteer as a CASA advocate, just about everyone can run or walk to help youth across the Highland Lakes.

And, you even can be a superhero in the process.

The fifth annual CASA Superhero 5K offers people of all ages and abilities a chance to help youth who are in foster care after being removed from their homes by Child Protective Services. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of the Highland Lakes Area gives these youth voices in court proceedings as adults determine their futures.[box]IF YOU GO

WHAT: CASA Superhero 5K
WHEN: Oct. 19
WHERE: Johnson Park, 230 Ave. J South in Marble Falls
REGISTRATION: $30 through Oct. 18; $35 on race day; $10 for children 12 and younger; and $15 for students 13-18
TO REGISTER OR SPONSOR: Go to www.highlandlakescasa.com or call (325) 388-3440[/box]

The CASA Superhero 5K slated for Oct. 19 in Johnson Park, 230 Ave. J South, still needs runners and sponsors. Registration is $30 through Oct. 18 and $35 on the day of the race. Registration for children 12 and younger is $10 and students 13-18 is $15.

“The state has cut so much funding (that) we have to raise money to keep this program alive,” said Liz Seabaugh, a race coordinator. “The work these advocates and the CASA staff do is incredible. The advocates, they know every part of their child’s life. And they make recommendations to the judge about what should happen.”

CASA advocates enter a child’s life after CPS removes him or her from a home because of a number of reasons. The child often ends up in foster care as the court, attorneys, parents and other adults try to sort out how to get the youth in a permanent home — whether reunited with parents or adopted, depending on the situation.

Through the entire process, while many things change, the CASA advocate remains a constant in the child’s life.

Dale Seabaugh, Liz’s husband and also a race coordinator, said CASA advocates are a crucial part of the puzzle in helping the children put their lives back together.

“You just don’t know how much (advocates) make a difference in their kids’ lives,” he said. “The work they do is tremendous.”

While some CASA staff are paid, the organization relies heavily on volunteers for its advocate corps. Still, it takes money to keep the doors open and services running. Ironically, though the state cuts funding to programs such as CASA, it also requires local courts provide the services at some level.

One easy way to help CASA and the children it serves is registering for the CASA Superhero 5K. Dale Seabaugh said superhero costumes are optional.

“You don’t have to wear one, but it really does make it fun,” he said.

Go to www.highlandlakescasa.com for registration and sponsorship information under the “How You Can Help” button at the top of the screen or call (325) 388-3440.

daniel@thepicayune.com