By Maya Butler | Reporter
“CASA kids are out of this world.”
That’s this year’s slogan for the cosmic-themed CASA 5K, an annual race hosted by Panhellenic sorority Kappa Alpha Theta for their philanthropy, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which will take place at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Fountain Mall. A concert will be held Friday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Fountain Mall to get students excited for the race.
Participants of the 5K can choose to either walk, run or even rollerblade their way to the finish line. Others not registered for the race can choose to contribute to CASA by donating money online. All proceeds will go toward CASA of McLennan County. So far, Kappa Alpha Theta has reported 261 donors and has already raised over half of their desired goal — $20,000.
“Seeing the money we raised with our philanthropy, we really do come full circle,” said Caroline Dobbs, Austin senior and Theta president.
After the race, a silent auction will take place, where several businesses such as Pics & Gifts, Oh My Juice and Barefoot Outfitters will donate a basket.
Portland, Oreg., senior Maria Carlsen, fundraising director for the sorority, talked about the silent auction.
“We have really big sponsorship; [a] team of girls has just been reaching out to businesses since the start of the summer,” Carlsen said. “They donate baskets with different themes, so we’re really excited because other Theta chapters throughout Texas have donated, too.”
The Swon Brothers, a country brother-duo who placed third on the fourth season of “The Voice,” will perform at the Rock the CASA Concert. There will be no fee to see the concert and Pokey O’s will be parked at the event. A representative from the McLennan County CASA office will speak at the concert. T-shirts will be sold at the event and people already registered for the race can pick up their packets there. Registration will stay open until 6 Friday night.
Fallston, Md., senior Hayley Cassedy, who serves as 5K chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta, emphasized the purpose of the concert.
“We wanted to basically raise as much awareness about CASA and our main event,” Cassedy said. “We thought the best way to incorporate everything was to have the concert Friday night before the race.”
CASA allows volunteers the chance to serve as advocates in the courtroom for abused or neglected children.
“CASA is the voice for them when they’re going through the legal system, so the courts have to find out where they’re going to live, who they’re going to live with, can they be with their parents still,” Cassedy said. “And because the kids are so young, and sometimes can get lost in the shuffle, they get appointed a CASA to basically go and see what their life is like, meet with the parents, meet with foster families and then, in the end, tell their story.”
Leading up to the concert and the 5K is CASA Week, a time when the sorority raises awareness on and off campus for the philanthropy.
Throughout CASA Week, Kappa Alpha Theta will have profit shares with restaurants in Waco. The women kicked off the profit shares Monday and Tuesday with Torchy’s Tacos and Chipotle. Wednesday, they partnered with U-Swirl from 5 to 9 p.m.; Thursday, they will be at Chick-fil-a from 6 to 9 p.m; and Friday, the sorority will team up with Panera Bread from 4 to 8 p.m. for their final profit share of the week.
Race T-shirts will be sold at Fountain Mall, Penland and the business school throughout the week for $10.
“I think that we were a little stressed out because it was happening so early in the [school] year at first,” Carlsen said. “But I think that’s been a huge blessing in disguise because we’re able to just go all in for the first couple of weeks of school and we’re really excited to see it all turn out.”