Santa and Mrs. Claus are pictured with CASA Glynn board members Elaine Holbrook, from left, Alisha Semour and MaryJo Prater. CASA Glynn will host the Jingle All the Way 5K and fun run Saturday.

The work of CASA Glynn is invaluable for area children who find themselves in the foster care system. These court appointed special victim advocates (CASA) serve as voices for those who are unable young to speak for themselves, championing the best interests of children who have endured unthinkable circumstances.

Rogelio Quintanar, board member of CASA Glynn, says the volunteers worked with more than 400 children last year. In order to properly serve, they must undergo extensive training — and, of course, that takes money.

“We have to have funds to train them to understand the court system and understand the needs of foster care — how to work with foster families and the services available to them. They also have to understand the traumatic abuse — emotional, physical, sexual — that many of these children have been through and everything that goes along with that,” Quintanar said.

While the program does receive some funding from a few sources, it also depends on two major fundraisers — one in the spring, the annual fashion show and luncheon, and one in the winer — the Jingle All the Way 5K.

And the latter is all set for Saturday. The festive event will begin at 9 a.m. with a 5K (3.1 mile race) at Great Dunes Park on Jekyll Island. It will be followed, at 10 a.m., by a one-mile fun run. Racers are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes early for their specific event.

In addition to the race itself, there will be plenty of holiday cheer to go around.

Jennifer Butler, race co-chair along with Quintanar and Heather Colvin, says the event will be filled with family fun.

“This is the 10th anniversary so we wanted to do something special. We will have ornaments for the runners and all of the kids who come out. There will be face painting and Santa,” she said.

“We also have really nice medals for the runners and will be giving out prizes for the best costumes too. There will be plaques given for the best teams, best individual costume and we will give $1,000 to the local school with the most participation. That will be given to the principal so he or she can use it for whatever they need.”

In addition to promoting an important cause, the race is a nice and health-centric way to start the day. Runners are still being accepted and may join through Active.com or by visiting casaglynn.org/jingle-race.

“We really are excited to offer this family-friendly event and promote healthy activity. If anyone is interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer, they can call here (912-264-4448) to speak with a wonderful staff member or visit the website, casaglynn.org,” Quintanar said.

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