When a child is pulled into the court system -- whether as a victim or as a bystander to a domestic situation -- it can be difficult for the child and the adults in court to determine what's best for the him or her with issues of trust, emotion and well-being at play.
Volunteers for Court Appointed Special Advocates of DuPage County serve as the child's voice in court.
Appointed by the judge to see the case through, CASA volunteers visit the child at home each month and attend all court proceedings and other related meetings. They write objective reports describing the child's home life as well as medical, emotional, educational and personal needs. The information helps judges make decisions to ensure the child is cared for during and as a result of the case.
Lyndsay Czwornog of Wheaton long has been moved by CASA's purpose and helps the organization publicize its mission. She'll run in Giving DuPage's Human Race to raise money for CASA.
Q. Who or what inspires you to participate on behalf of CASA?
A. I am a runner and I enjoy participating in races that benefit charity. CASA is very near and dear to my heart because of the services they provide for each and every child in need of those services in DuPage County. If not for CASA, these children would not have a voice in the court system.
Q. How have you been affected by the organization's mission?
A. CASA's mission to serve children has stuck with me since the day I first heard about them. The unwavering support they provide to each and every child is amazing.
Q. What personal experience have you had with the organization?
A. I've been fortunate to volunteer with CASA for a couple years. I help out with some of their graphic design needs and happily assist wherever I can in letting people know who CASA is and what they do.
Q. What might surprise people about CASA?
A. I don't think people truly understand what CASA does for children in our community. They are local, by county. Personally, I don't feel like a lot of people understand the importance of CASA, nor what they do for children in need. They provide a voice for children who have been brought into the court system, through no fault of their own, because of issues with their home life and family. The advocates that CASA provides speak on behalf of the children and keep the child's best interest as their No. 1 priority.
Q. What have you learned about yourself through your connection to CASA?
A. Protecting the innocence of our children has always been important to me. I believe that children deserve every chance to have the best life possible. CASA is able to help children in need by providing that voice.
My experience in working with them has been empowering. I love that I can help educate the greater public as to the services that they provide.
Q. Have you ever done this 5K before and, if so, what was the experience like?
A. Yes, I did this particular 5K for CASA last year as well. It was a great, uplifting run.
Q. What would you tell someone who is interested in participating but might be the slightest bit hesitant?
A. Never hesitate to give back! This race raises funds that directly support local DuPage County charities.
Q. How can readers donate to your fundraising efforts?
A. Readers can donate to CASA of DuPage County by visiting their website dupagecasa.org or they can donate directly to the fundraising efforts of CASA through the Human Race by visiting active.com/donate/dupagehumanrace2014/CASAofDuPageCo.