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The City Journals

Superheroes descend on Murray Park for fun run

May 14, 2018 04:50PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Superheroes turned out en masse to support the Children’s Service Society’s 5k/10k fun run. (Photo Courtesy Children’s Service Society)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected] 

Not even “Avengers: Infinity War” came close to the number of superheroes that showed up at Murray Park on May 12. The Children’s Service Society (CSS), a nonprofit organization that helps prevent the abuse and neglect of children in Utah, hosted the “Calling All Heroes” race at Murray Park. The superhero-themed race included a 10k run-walk, a 5k run, and a free 1k fun run for children under age six. 

“Every child needs a hero,” said Encarni Gallardo, executive director of CSS. “This Superhero Fun Run is to thank and celebrate those who step up in this fight to protect children and to encourage others to do so.” 

CSS has been in existence since 1884 and is the oldest non-denominational organization in Utah that focuses on children’s safety. It was established to help neglected and orphaned children and continues today with the mission to protect and help children in need. CSS offers four areas of assistance: adoption, Grandfamilies kinship care, home visitation, and assistance and training for childcare providers. 

“There are so many children in Utah who need our help to provide safe and nurturing homes for them. Whether it’s through Grandfamilies kinship care, permanent adoptions, or other services, we can come to their aid,” noted Gallardo.

The organization’s adoption services are the oldest in Utah. They provide services to expectant mothers including grief and loss support. For adoptive families, they perform a home study or adoption evaluation (a state required documentation process) that evaluates a family’s readiness and ability to adopt, and they offer counseling and support for post-adoption issues.

Nationally, the number of grandparents who are primary caregivers has increased; CSS has created a Grandfamilies program to support them. The program was created in 2002 to provide support and assistance to relatives— primarily grandparents— who raise children. There are more than 82,000 children living with and being raised by extended family members in Utah; CSS focuses to ensure that they have access to the information, resources, and support they need for a safe and stable environment that meets their needs.

To help promote quality child care and help parents locate licensed caregivers in their area, CSS offers the Care About Childcare program. Care About Childcare is an online system designed in partnership with the State of Utah Office of Child Care. Care About Childcare compiles a summer activity guide each spring to assist in arranging quality summer programs for children. There are a variety of programs listed that offer full-time as well as part-time schedules that focus on the development of a specific skill, while others are classes and activities that may require children to be accompanied by a parent or guardian (such as public libraries or swimming pools).

All proceeds from the Calling All Heroes race go to support the services that CSS provides to children and their families. The non-profit states, “When a child is in need, it’s most often a heroic adult who comes to their rescue to help protect and heal that child—and more and more it’s a heroic grandparent.” Each racer received a race shirt and medal as well as a swag bag, snacks, and water.

More information about CSS can be found online at