Who would win a foot-race between the Silver Surfer and the Flash? What about Superman?

CASA Del Norte and the Crescent City Jaycees are working to put these debates to rest on Aug. 30 with the county's first CASA Super Hero Fun Run/Walk starting at the Marine Mammal Center. Participants of all ages are invited to join in the fun by dressing up as their favorite superhero (or just wear their trusty old running apparel if they'd rather).

The 1-kilometer Kid Run starts at 9 a.m., and a 5K for adults will follow at 9:30 a.m. The Super Hero Fun Run/Walk will also feature live music by the Jefferson CoastRamblers as well as a post-race barbecue.

"It is a way to honor our CASA advocates and the kids who are the real heros in this whole ordeal of child abuse," said CASA of Del Norte Executive Director Christine Slette.

Slette said that similar Super Hero Fun Runs have been put on by other CASA programs across the country. In Humboldt, the local CASA program holds an annual Kid Walk as well, but it has never been a possibility here in Del Norte until this year.

"The Jaycees is hosting the event," Slette said. "That is why we are able to do this. We also got sponsored by Sutter Coast Hospital and Tobacco Use Prevention Program (TUPP)."

Prospective participants are invited to sign up onactive.com. Runners can also sign up starting at 8 a.m. on the day of the race. More importantly right now, the race is looking for sponsors and people to help with


"We are looking for businesses in the community to help sponsor it," Slette said. "We are also hoping that people will get teams together and do their own fundraising or participate as a team."

The cost of signing up alone is $25 per person, or $20 per person if you sign up with a team.

"The proceeds from this event go directly to support the CASA program to recruit, train and supervise volunteer advocates," Slette said.

The CASA Del Norte program has grown substantially in the past three years, helping three times more volunteers kids this year than it did three years ago. Slette said that CASA Del Norte still needs plenty more hands to keep up with all the work that needs to be done, however.

The program currently has 22 volunteers who have helped 52 kids this year, but Slette said there are still 63 kids on the waiting list.

"They don't have anyone that is advocating for their educational rights or helping them navigate through the system," Slette said. "The foster parents are amazing. They really are. The problem is that it is an overburdened system. We have too many cases for the amount of social workers, and there are only 13 or 14 foster home placements in the county."

With help from funds raised by the Fun Run, CASA is hoping that it can grow by another 50 percent in order to meet the challenges that it faces.

"Our goal is to try to get at least 10 advocates into this next class," Slette said. "Then we could get a large portion of the cases that we need advocates for handled. We have cases that are pretty intense, and they really need an advocate right now, but we don't have a volunteer to assign to the case."

Slette said that anybody interested in becoming a CASA advocate should contact CASA Del Norte at 707-464-3320. Advocates must also complete a background check and a free 36-hour class before they will be allowed to work with the children.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.