By Patrick Seidl, CNP – Maryland CASA Association
Federal Hill School Psychologist, Olivia Lewis (26) of Federal Hill will support Maryland victims of child abuse and neglect by participating in the Baltimore Running Festival.
She will compete on the Maryland CASA Association’s “Team CASA” in the city-wide event occurring Saturday, Oct. 18, at M&T Bank Stadium.
Originally from Ohio, Lewis made a connection to CASA while attending Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, through her involvement with Kappa Alpha Theta, the nation’s first Greek-letter fraternity for women. CASA is Kappa Alpha Theta’s national philanthropy.
The Federal Hill resident came to Baltimore to complete a MA/CAS degree in school psychology from Towson University and now works as a nationally certified school psychologist for Baltimore City. Lewis is a member of the Baltimore Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae chapter, which led her to get involved specifically with Maryland CASA.
Part of Lewis’ job is advocating for the needs of children in schools and she has had the opportunity to gain experience with foster youth. “It gives me a unique perspective on the importance of CASA volunteers and how vital their job is for getting the best outcomes for these children,” says Lewis. “I would LOVE to be a CASA one day but, unfortunately, it’s not in my cards right now.”
For now, Lewis has chosen to support Maryland CASA through Team CASA. She ran the 5K with the team at the 2012 festival and it was her “first time ever running that distance;” she hadn’t even ran a full mile until preparing for the 2012 5K.
This year, Lewis has ramped up her training efforts and will be participating in the half-marathon. It has been no easy feat for someone who claims not to be a runner, but Lewis found great support on Team CASA in her prior run and looks forward to the team’s support for her longer run this year. “I love the sense of community at the running festival, especially with Team CASA,” Lewis commented. “When I ran the 5K, I found two other ladies also running for Team CASA and we ran together! The support was really helpful for my first race.”
Ed Kilcullen, State Director for Maryland CASA, is thrilled to have Lewis on this year’s team. “We’re so happy to have Olivia back with us again this year,” said Kilcullen. “It’s always heartwarming to see people who may not have any other connection to Maryland CASA step up and support us in this effort.” This will be Team CASA’s sixth year as a charity team at the Baltimore Running Festival. The team’s goal is $50,000 for the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year.
Lewis is working hard to reach that goal. She is currently one of Team CASA’s top fundraisers, raising $1,095 toward her goal of $100 per mile of the half-marathon and is making a final push to achieve her goal and, ultimately, support Maryland’s youth.
For more information on how to support Team CASA, please visit GoTeamCasa.org