KATwalk event benefits local organization CASA

5/4/2007 7:00:00 AM

Kappa Alpha Theta hosts the first KATwalk event on Saturday, May 5 at 9 a.m. beginning at the Manzanita Bowl. The proceeds from the KATwalk will go to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) an organization that aids children in the juvenile court system.

CASA is a county program based in courts which provides children with volunteer citizens, called CASAs, who support children involved in legal proceedings and would otherwise have no voice. Most of the children who are appointed CASAs by judges have been abused, neglected and living in foster care, according to Mary Herzik, CASA executive director.

Not only do the CASAs support the children, they play a critical role in family court decisions.

"CASA volunteers –- through their detailed knowledge of their children –- provide the court with valuable information and insight into the unique needs of each child," Herzik said.

Ashley Cray, the philanthropy chair of Kappa Alpha Theta, said she understands the importance of the service they provide to children in need, having had a special advocate as a child herself.

"The volunteers are like social workers but on a more personal level," Cray said. "I can say from experience that CASA can really help the kids. They make sure that the children get what they need."

Cray said she organized the spring philanthropy event to benefit Kappa Alpha Theta's national charity. The idea for the KATwalk was a result of her own interests in track.

Cray said the event is also a great way to get the community involved both with a local organization and the University. Several high school students and their families will be participating in the KATwalk and will get a chance to tour the campus.

"The high school students can see the campus and that might influence them to go to the University or join a club," Cray said.

Herzik said a fundraiser for CASA can also make the community more aware of the organization.

"Events like the KATwalk can increase the community's awareness of our program and will hopefully result in more volunteers to serve more children," Herzik said.

The donations from the KATwalk will be funding not the volunteers but services for the children themselves.

"The proceeds will be used to provide direct services to children served by CASA such as paying for summer camp, tutoring, dance lessons, prom attire, or other needs that may be overlooked," Herzik said. 


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