Vania Kassouf of Cedar Rapids, Iowa has been selected as the Hamilton Relay 2020 Deaf Community Leader Award recipient for the state of Iowa. Vania is an active advocate for the Deaf community at the local, state and national level.
Currently, Vania serves as the legislative liaison for the Iowa Association of the Deaf Board (IAD). As part of her work with IAD and Iowa lawmakers, the state saw the passage of the Hearing/Impaired/Deaf and Hard of Hearing bill in 2020.
Helping children who are deaf or hard of hearing is important to Vania. She advocates with legislation through her involvement as a committee member on LEAD-K (Language Equity & Acquisition for Deaf Kids). These efforts are striving to help children be better prepared for kindergarten. In addition, Vania works closely with the Department of Education to set up a four-year American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter program in Iowa and continues to push for a plan to set up a Bachelor of Arts program.
At a state and national level, Vania is involved with the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Association and works closely with the Iowa Area Education Agencies to advocate for deaf education.
We commend Vania for her advocacy and volunteerism and are proud to present her with the Hamilton Relay 2020 Deaf Community Leader Award for the state of Iowa.