Speak up with your feet

By | Published Thursday, June 17, 2010

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Runners will voice their support for local children with their feet Saturday morning in the Speak Up For Kids CASA 5K.

The annual 5K race, which will begin on the Decatur square at Trinity and Main Street at 8:15 a.m., raises money for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Wise and Jack Counties.

A 1K for children will start at 8 a.m.

The local CASA executive director, Claudene Griffith, said the event is an important fundraiser for the non-profit organization that receives some federal funds.

“It cost about $1,100 in office time per child that we serve,” Griffith said. “Our money goes toward training, salaries and providing items to meet children’s needs.”

CASA is a nationwide program with its origins in Seattle. Judges appoint specially trained volunteers to work as advocates of children who have been removed from their family by Child Protective Services.

“The person appointed works to do what is best for the child,” Griffith said. “They are the one consistent face and person that the children can go to.”

The volunteers are unpaid. They go through 30 hours of training and are sworn in by a judge.

When they are assigned to a child, they get to know the child, the parents, foster family and sometimes the teachers, doctors and other professionals working with them.

“Every time there is a court date they write a report for the judge,” Griffith said. “What they say carries a lot of weight.”

Griffith said in most cases, families are given a year to work through issues with Child Protective Services and regain custody. During that year, the CASA volunteer does their advocate assistance.

“They get so involved with the children and can spend from two to 40 hours per week with them,” she said.

The local CASA office is working with 60 children. Griffith said that is more than double the number of last year.

Griffith expects approximately 100 runners to challenge the hilly course that starts downtown and will head south to the Wise County Heritage Museum. The course will end back on the square.

Racers finish Tri

Seventy-eight athletes from four states – Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Michigan – completed the Try the Tri Triathlon Saturday morning at Fit-N-Wise.

Derby Shaw, 32, of San Antonio won the race, completing the 250-yard swim, 8-mile bike ride and 2-mile run in 39:39.

Fit-N-Wise trainer and race director Mike Bowers said the event went well with a majority of first-time participants.

“I’ve received five e-mails, and they were all positive,” Bowers said.

A dozen of the athletes trained with Bowers for five weeks for the event.

“They did good,” Bowers said.

Pat Lloyd of Decatur was one of the dozen. Bowers said he lost 6 pounds during training.

“He did good,” Bowers said. “He finished 17th overall.”

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