Come for the 5k, stay for the party

Doko Meadows Park will be full of superheroes on Saturday. | Contributed

BLYTHEWOOD – The 2022 Superhero 5K Family Fun Day will be held Saturday, Sept. 17 at Doko Meadows Park. The 5K Run/Walk starts at 8 a.m., followed by a 100 meter Kids Dash at 10 a.m.

A Superhero costume contest for adults, children and dogs will be held at 11 a.m.

Then there’s free lunch and the afternoon is filled with prizes, games and more. It promises, after all, to be a fun day for the whole family and devoted to honoring CASA’s Superheroes, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (Guardians Ad Litem) who advocate for the welfare of children when there’s a disturbance in their household that leads to a court case.

While the event is free, it is also a fundraiser organized by the CASA Foundation, the fundraising arm of Richland County’s Guardian Ad Litem Agency. The event is funded by a number of sponsors, including: Alliant Health Solutions, Nelson Mullins Riley Scarborough, Prisma Health, Optus Bank and many more…

With the funds it raises, the Foundation works through CASA to support the welfare of the children overseen by the agency.

The Richland County CASA is the only Guardian Ad Litem program in the state that’s independent from state oversight. It’s run by the County.

“While the County funds CASA’s staff, the Guardians Ad Litem are volunteers who give considerable time and effort to advocate for the best interests of children – many of whom have been abused or neglected or have otherwise ended up in the court system,” said Donald Brock, Jr., a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and treasurer for the group.

The Foundation fills the financial gaps for these kids.

Brock explained that the Foundation pays for things like karate lessons, summer camp, soccer team fees, swimming lessons – things these kids would otherwise not have access to.

Many of the children the Guardians Ad Litem advocate for have been referred by the Department of Social Services and/or are in foster homes. What we provide for them are things that in some way enrich their lives.”

Fundraising is CASA’s primary function, but some of its fundraisers also provide networking opportunities for recruiting Guardians Ad Litem.

Harris Pastides and Monica Owens, president of the CASA foundation

In addition to the annual Superheroes event, the Foundation holds “Coffee and Conversations” and “Cocktail and Conversations” events throughout the year where leaders in the community speak, providing insight into ways to advocate for child welfare. Harris Pastides, former President of The University of South Carolina, was the speaker at the Foundation’s April Coffee and Conversation event.

The Foundation raises about $500,000 annually from its various events as well as from grants from the National CASA Association, donations through Midlands Gives and regular financial support from a number of area banks, the S.C. Bar Association and other organizations and individuals.

“We hope everyone will come out and enjoy a fun day with lots of activities and free things. If you have a superhero costume or can pull one together, wear it,” Brock said. “You or your dog just might win a nice prize. But no matter what, you and your family – and your dog – will have a good time and contribute to a worthy cause.”

To donate to CASA, to get on the email list, or to learn more about the County’s Guardian Ad Litem program, go to

Register for the run/walk at

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]