MHS graduate works for Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Whether it's her involvement in the community or her full-time career, Veronica Guevara has always put others first.

Guevara, a 2009 Marshalltown High School graduate, currently works as Director of Equity and Inclusion for the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Des Moines.

"I promote quality services to survivors of domestic violence by providing statewide consultation and intensive training support to advocates working in our member victim service programs," Guevara said. "ICADV is a state level nonprofit that represents 21 local programs across the state that provide direct services to survivors of intimate partner violence."

Her background as a daughter of immigrants led her to find her path to stand up for others.

"My commitment and approach to this work stem from being a first generation, daughter of immigrants and so many of my lived experiences," she said. "I joined this movement to be actively involved in the fight against interpersonal and institutional violence against all people, but specifically communities of color that have been historically pushed aside."

She was involved for two years as an intern for US Senator Michael Bennett in Washington, DC as part of Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Internship Program. She nearly stayed in DC and took up politics full-time, but thought she could also make an impact back in Iowa.

"During my time in DC, I missed my family and knew that there was plenty of work to be done in my home state of Iowa," she said. "After graduating with my BA from the University of Iowa, I chose to stay in Iowa and pursue and create opportunities here."

Before her time at the University of Iowa, Veronica earned a degree from Marshalltown Community College and helped start the local Immigrant Allies group.

Inspired by local community leaders

Guevara said her time in Marshalltown helped shape who she is today. She lists several inspirational school district staff such as Peggy Kelly (has since retired), Gary Mertens, Kirk Niehouse and Dan Terrones, who helped her stay on track and "were always so kind, empathetic, welcoming and supportive." 

She also credits local community members such as Joa LaVille, Mark Smith and Bettie Bolar for their guidance as well.

"I am very grateful to have crossed paths with such exceptional beings throughout my time in Marshalltown," Guevara said. "I am very proud of being the daughter of immigrants and being the first in my family to obtain a higher education degree."