For Claire Arnold, becoming a Dallas CASA volunteer was something a pre-ordained fact.
Her mother and grandmother are both longtime volunteers with CASA of the Pines in East Texas. Her mother, Jannah Nerren, 56, was the first to sign up 12 years ago. Jannah’s mother, Brenda Walters, 74, followed 10 years ago. Daughter and granddaughter Claire, 29, joined Dallas CASA this year.
“Growing up, I saw my mom putting time and effort into being a good advocate for the children she served,” Claire said. “I knew once I got settled after graduating college, it was something I wanted to do.”
After graduating from Texas A&M in 2016, moving to Dallas in 2018, getting married in 2019 and then getting settled into her career as a pharmaceutical sales representative, Claire realized it was time and contacted Dallas CASA to begin training.
“I’ve had a fortunate life, and it was important to me to do something on behalf of others,” she said. “My biggest concern was that being a CASA volunteer might make me sad because of what I might see, but that felt like a selfish reason not to sign up when I’ve been so fortunate. At the end of the day, it’s worth it.”
When she told her family she was going through training, their reaction was pride.
“My mom was excited I was signing up,” Claire said. “She also had some really good, positive words of encouragement for what was ahead. She’s had a lot of joy and happiness come from serving as a CASA volunteer.”
For Claire’s mother Jannah, she says that while she’s happy to know her experiences as the first in the family to become a CASA volunteer have been inspiring, what’s really meaningful is that more children will now have caring adults in their lives to serve as their voices.
“I think it’s wonderful that three generations had the heart for wanting to give back to their communities for one thing, but also for the love of children,” Claire’s grandmother Brenda shared with Texas CASA.
Without the example of her mother and grandmother, Claire’s not sure she would have committed to Dallas CASA.
“Honestly, the scariest part was initiating that first contact with CASA to start training,” Claire said. “I wish I would have taken the initiative and done it sooner. It’s been absolutely worth it.”
Her next role is one of recruiter. She’s hoping to convince her husband to sign up next.