By: Annalisa Ciro, Follow South Jersey Writer
BRIDGETON, N.J. — From Gettysburg to Mississippi to South Jersey, one thing remained constant in Veronica Keefer’s life despite her ever-changing surroundings: her passion for giving back to her community. No matter where she was, and from as far back as she can remember, Veronica was always involved in her community – whether it was through church youth groups or the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. And when she moved to Deptford five years ago, this passion for service remained faithfully by her side.
After the move, Veronica began searching for opportunities to volunteer that would be flexible with her work schedule as a Physics and Engineering teacher at Kingsway Regional High School. While flipping through the glossy pages of a Subaru Drive magazine, she stumbled upon a section spotlighting local volunteers–and that is when she saw it: a Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties (CASA of CGS) volunteer.
What she read next resonated with her deeply. Not only did the opportunity appeal to her passion for working with youth, but it highlighted the impact she could make in the lives of these children in need in her community.
Veronica has been on our CASA team now for a little over a year, and her consistent advocacy has led to successes, happiness, and bounds forward in her CASA youth’s life. From little joys like making sure he received a drum set he had been waiting for, to more monumental moments, like reuniting him in a resource home with two of his siblings, Veronica never fails to support her CASA youth. She consistently advocates for the things he needs and deserves for a happy, healthy life.
“Since becoming a volunteer, Veronica has shown her CASA child constant support, love, and guidance,” said Gloucester County Advocate Coordinator Beatriz Rodriguez. “Throughout her CASA child’s journey from placement change to school changes, Veronica has constantly shown dedication and selflessness. She went out of her way to get him a drum set to encourage his interest in music and attended his recital, supporting him every step of the way. It is so special to be able to work with Veronica and witness such a beautiful impact she is making on our program and this child.”
Volunteering for CASA has undoubtedly impacted the life of the child Veronica is serving, but it has likewise impacted her own. Before CASA, she never fully understood the foster care system and the effect that it has on a child, not to mention just how many children are affected.
Echoing Veronica’s beliefs, change truly does start on a small scale. Something as simple as a friendly, consistent face; a “How are you?”; a hug; a coloring play date – can make a world of difference to a child whose life has been turned upside-down. It’s ultimately these small, consistent changes that collect and grow into changing a child’s story.
Part of a nationwide network of CASA/GAL programs, CASA of CGS trains volunteers to advocate on behalf of the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect throughout Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties. While on a case, CASA volunteers advocate for the child they represent in every facet of their life and make recommendations to the court regarding the child’s best interests.
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