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Published: Wednesday, 5/28/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

Memorial Walk raises awareness, funds for Wood County children's advocates

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Judge David Woessner of Wood County Juvenile Court is to speak at Saturday's walk. Judge David Woessner of Wood County Juvenile Court is to speak at Saturday's walk.
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The Karen Swartz Memorial Walk for CASA has been moved from Woodland Park to the W.W. Knight Nature Preserve for its fifth annual walk this Saturday.

Moving the walk to the nature preserve will allow stations and naturalists from the Wood County Parks District to help teach children about some of the animals in the area.

Wood County Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian ad litem (CASA/GAL) provides the free walk to try to raise awareness for their volunteer needs, Program Director Carol Fox said. 

“Our volunteers meet with children to get information and needs of them and the family to report back to the court for a recommendation,” she said. “They spend a lot of time with children in their home setting and monitor it until the case is closed.”

Last year, Wood County CASA saw 144 abused or neglected children. Ms. Fox is concerned that, with a lack of volunteers, the group may have to turn  some children back to the courts without assistance.

The registration for the walk begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and goes from 9 to 11 a.m. It is free to attend, with all donations to CASA. For a T-shirt, there is a $25 donation.

The walk is named after Karen Swartz, a former Rossford Schools coach and athletic director who volunteered for 10 years with the Wood County CASA.

“She was a huge advocate for us,” Ms. Fox said.

Mrs. Swartz died in 2009 at the age of 69.

Wood County Probate Judge David Woessner will speak at the walk, talking about the need for volunteers like Mrs. Swartz and thanking those for their support. 

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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