Veronica Redmon joined Dallas CASA as a volunteer two years ago, but in her short time in service she’s found many ways to connect. She’s a member of Dallas CASA’s Faith Outreach Team, and her professional paralegal group, Dallas Area Paralegal Association, has begun supporting Dallas CASA initiatives. A resident of southwest Arlington, Veronica says she thinks representation matters for both children and volunteers.

What brought you to Dallas CASA?

Service has always been important to me. Growing up, I remember seeing my grandmother serve her church and community through missionary work in Haiti and locally. That made an impression on me. And then I’ve always had a heart for children and underserved women, so CASA felt right.

The diversity of volunteers as well as those served by the agency is also important to me. I checked out a couple of other agencies, but I was drawn to Dallas CASA’s diverse base of volunteers and families served. I wanted to go somewhere that I could grow.

What does representation mean to you?

We live in a society where, unfortunately, people can assume children are in care because they are Black. For me, representation means seeing these children for what’s possible in their lives. One of the ways I do this is advocating for education. One of the girls I am advocating for now has moved around a lot, and that means her school has changed a bit. But it’s so important to keep her connected with her schoolwork and to let her know she can and should be the absolute best she can be. I want to protect her education as well as her safety.

I also know how to advocate for myself. One of the children I serve was in the hospital due to an injury. I had visited several days in a row, but one day the front desk clerk tried to deny me entry. I said “I’m sorry, but I am not going anywhere.” They called the nurse’s station on the floor where the child was staying and they said “Send her up! We love her!”

What do you tell people about the role?

I am a person of truth and a realist, so I tell them it’s not easy but we need people who can open their hearts and be willing to learn. We need whatever time they can give.

What’s changed about you after serving as a volunteer?

These kids are so very vulnerable, and they just want someone to love them. I cried just last week when I went to visit the two youngest kids at their daycare. They were playing and happy, then they saw me and ran over and hugged me. Those hugs are going to keep me going for a long time.

I keep a James Baldwin quote in my signature line, and it’s close to my heart: “Once you realize that you can do something, it would be difficult to live with yourself if you didn’t do it.” That’s exactly how I feel about volunteering.

What does your support system for volunteering look like?

Everyone in my life knows I raised my daughter as a single parent. There’s not one person in my life who didn’t know she was my priority. They saw me laboring over her, raising her and making sure she had everything she needed.

Those same friends know me and support me now, too. They know this is a passion of mine and I’m sincere about that. It’s more than a phone call or a dinner. Their support goes so much deeper, and I am grateful for that.