Making her mark

31 May

Allison cafe

Allison Foss’s parents instilled in her at a young age the importance of making a mark on her community. And at Iowa State she learned about making difference for those who need support.

Those values have stayed with Allison in both her professional career and her personal life.

Allison (’01 child, adult & family services) is a social worker and case manager for individuals with developmental disabilities in Johnson County, Kan. She works with children and adults with mental and physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and autism.

“I have a passion for working with the population of special needs. They very much want your help,” she says.

Allison also helps coordinate the annual Greater Kansas City Myasthenia Gravis Walk, Run & Roll, a 5K run and walk to benefit the Myasthenia Gravis Association of Kansas City.

Allison was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a rare form of muscular dystrophy, at the age of 5. She says the Kansas City event raises money and, perhaps more importantly, it also helps raise awareness of a disease that doesn’t get much media attention.

“It’s not like breast cancer where everything turns pink for a month,” she says.

Allison lives in Overland Park, Kan., a community that she says feels like a small town within a big city. The Iowa State connections here, Allison says, make it fun to get involved with social events and philanthropy.

“I’ve always had the itch to give back and be a part of a community,” she says. “Growing up in Fairfield [Iowa], my parents were active volunteering in their church, community, and education. It was a model of how important it is to give back.”

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