By Steven Olender
For the Brian family, being a superhero is a job that begins before you even start walking. About to enter their sixth year of the CASA Superhero Run, they started running after Julia stumbled on a Facebook post. She knew that her son, Will, then two years old, was developing a fascination with superheroes, so she signed up. She and Jason ran the race and Will came along in a stroller.
They had a great time at the race and Will loved meeting all of the superheroes, but what really sold them on making the CASA Superhero Run a yearly event was someone they met along the way. This woman was an adult now, but had grown up in foster care and was running with the woman who had been her CASA volunteer back when she was a child. Meeting this woman and her former CASA volunteer helped the Brians understand what it was they were running for, and they decided to come back again the next year and for four more after that.
In that time, their super squad has grown, adding on Hannah, now four years old, and Rhett, who is three. Just like Will, Hannah and Rhett started being part of the CASA Superhero Run before they could run. Rhett still didn’t run last year, but he sure likes the Stormtroopers. “They have a blast,” Julia explains. “This past year, the older kids really loved 'running.’ They felt like they were truly chasing the bad guys.”
They make the race a family affair from start to finish, setting up their fundraising pages and using their personal hashtag, #BrianPartyOfFive. While Julia takes the lead, they make sure the whole family gets involved, deciding their costumes (Hannah won the costume contest one year with her Mermaid Superhero costume) and filming videos of them practicing their super moves for social media.
The kids still aren’t old enough to really understand how they are heroes for other kids, but Will is starting to get it. “We’re just starting to talk to them about how they are helping other children,” says Julia, “without them understanding all that CASA has to offer.” But when they get older, they’ll know that, in the Brian family, heroism is a family value.
Their advice for other would-be superfamilies: “Everyone is scared of raising money and finding donations. We just do our best to socialize it. We set a realistic goal, so it doesn’t feel like a burden.”
You can be a superhero for children who've been abused or neglected at the 2017 CASA Superhero Run on September 17 at Domain Central Park. Register for the race, donate to kids, fundraise for the cause, or do all 3 at www.casasuperherorun.com.
CASA Superhero Run August 2017