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Val Akin

Alliant Energy engineer shares the bounty

“I have always been in awe of the courage it must take to come to a completely unknown place when you don't even know the language to start a new chapter in your life,” said Val Akin, an Alliant Energy senior grid planning engineer. “I'm not sure I would have that courage, so I like to be involved in helping those courageous individuals make their future.”

Akin spends about three to four hours a week tutoring adults one on one and in groups at the Catherine McAuley Center in Cedar Rapids, an education and resource center for immigrants, refugees and women who experience crisis. The organization offers education services in English as a second language, U.S. citizenship exam prep, basic skills for the High School Equivalency Test and computer skills.

Many of Akin’s students are from Africa, others from India and Haiti. In addition to tutoring on specific subjects, Akin simply talks with these adult learners so they can practice English in a safe setting.

Akin also gives time to Alliant Energy employee volunteer events, contributing to Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity and others.

Akin organizes an annual holiday gift drive, tracking and coordinating gifts our employees donate for Tanager Place in Cedar Rapids. Tanager Place provides youth mental health services, a subject that has touched Akin’s life personally. “I have a family member struggling with a teen with mental health issues,” she said, “and I see how little assistance there is available and how much time and energy parents spend dealing with an issue that impacts the entire family.”

Akin has volunteered in one form or another since she was a Girl Scout in elementary school. "I did it because it was what the group was doing. Now, it just feels right and good to share some of the bounty I have been blessed with.”

We recognize Val Akin with a 2024 Values in Practice (VIP) award, an honor that celebrates employees who donate time and energy to the communities we serve.

All 2024 VIPs receive a $500 grant to donate to the nonprofit of their choice. Akin is donating her VIP grant award to Waypoint, a Cedar Rapids community resource for individuals in crisis.

We thank Akin and the other VIPs for how they act for tomorrow, do the right thing, make things better and care for others – a few of the values that shape everything we do.

"It just feels right and good to share some of the bounty I have been blessed with.”
Val Akin

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