Highly-regarded social justice award goes to SCSU alumna

Monday, April 4, 2005

SCSU social work graduate Cara Ruff has won the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Award for Social Justice given by the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Ruff successfully led a grassroots effort to restore state funding for Independent Lifestyles Inc., which she founded in 1997, after state budget cuts eliminated support. The organization offers the disabled living skills training and services in such areas of daily living as self esteem, housing, employment, cooking and nutrition. Last year Independent Lifestyles served more than 600 clients in Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, Meeker, Wright, Morrison, Mille Lacs, Kandiyohi and Isanti counties.

The activist also chairs the Community Action Committee of the Minnesota Brain Injury Association, volunteers with the Courage Center, is the governor-appointed representative for all independent living centers on the Statewide Independent Living Council of Minnesota, and is founder and chair of the Disability Awareness Task Force of Central Minnesota.

Ruff is the second recipient of the Wellstone award. Last year, the association recognized the work of state Sen. Linda Berglin, chairwoman of the Health, Human Services and Corrections Committee.

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