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Iowa Legal Aid Receives Aurora Award

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

  • Organization: Iowa Legal Aid

Iowa Legal Aid received The Des Moines Register’s 2011 Aurora Award at a ceremony at the Temple for the Performing Arts in downtown Des Moines on Wednesday evening, February 8. The Register’s Aurora Award recognizes a not-for-profit organization that has identified a need within the community and has worked to fill it.

In recognizing Iowa Legal Aid’s work, Laura Hollingsworth, President and Publisher of The Des Moines Register noted that Iowa Legal Aid had closed nearly 5,500 cases in central Iowa in 2011 that helped almost 14,000 persons, 6,500 of whom were children. Statewide, Iowa Legal Aid had closed 22,186 cases, impacting almost 53,500 persons, 23,500 of whom were children.

Her remarks recognized that Iowa Legal Aid’s work often impacts not just the individual client involved in that particular case, but our work can have much wider ramifications. She talked specifically about Iowa Legal Aid’s case decided by the Iowa Supreme Court in 2010 challenging the abuse registry and the resulting legislation in 2011 that made modifications in the registry.

As the recipient of the Aurora Award, Iowa Legal Aid received a plaque and a $1,000 contribution from Des Moines Register Media. Other finalists for this year’s Aurora Award were Anawim Housing, Central Iowa Shelter & Services, the United Way of Central Iowa and The World Food Prize Foundation.

Thanks to our staff around the state, our Board members and our volunteers for the work that you do to help Iowa Legal Aid provide services that are worthy of the recognition of The Des Moines Register through its Aurora Award. This is a recognition that would not be possible without the combined contributions of all. Thank you for your commitment to helping ensure that as many low-income Iowans as possible receive hope, dignity and justice through Iowa Legal Aid’s work.

The importance of Iowa Legal Aid’s work was illustrated at the awards presentation when Ms. Hollingsworth quoted one client who had been helped by Iowa Legal Aid:

“Obtaining SSI benefits made my daughter Medicaid eligible, which opened up a whole new world for her. She now attends a developmental disability workshop and is on a waiting list to get her own apartment which will have supported services.

Since being approved for SSI and Medicaid, she has gotten her physical, eye exam and other very needed medical services taken care of. Prior she was not able to do this due to no insurance. Her self esteem has gone through the roof. She is truly happy. Everyone comments on it. She has money now and is proud she can purchase what she wants. She truly just glows and it’s because Iowa Legal Aid won her SSI appeal which set off a chain of events that is making her dreams come true.

She can now attend Special Olympics. She has friends and she participates in many, many activities. Her life has bloomed!

She commented, “This is the best year ever!” and it has been. Thank you so much.”

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