Iowa Youth Writing Project
Dora Malech balances her life as a poet and writer with her passion for a local nonprofit organization.
Ms. Malech is director of the Iowa Youth Writing Project. Her work has been published in national magazines such as The New Yorker, Poetry and Best New Poets.
The Iowa Youth Writing Project (IYWP) is a non-profit outreach collective, founded by University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates in 2010, which aims to join Iowa City’s literary heritage with Iowa’s larger community, empowering, inspiring and educating Iowa’s youth through language arts and creative thinking.
“Though Dora is an exemplary teacher, her work as a community organizer is what makes her so deserving of this award. The IYWP is a dynamic nonprofit that provides writing, tutoring, creative learning and publishing opportunities, at little or no cost to participants, to youth across the state,” stated Daniel Khalastchi, associate director of the Magid Undergraduate Writing Center and the Undergraduate Certificate in Writing Program at the University of Iowa, in nominating Ms. Malech.
Between August 2012-February 2013, Ms. Malech helped the organization reach more than 800 K-12 students, offering nearly 60 literacy programs and logging 1,700 hours of service from UI students, faculty and community members.
“Essentially (the organization has grown) with a lot of help from my friends. I was really able to make this happen because there’s such an amazing community of writers and literacy enthusiasts in Iowa and organizations that are willing to partner with us because they believe in literacy and creativity,” Ms. Malech said.
She earned a master’s in fine arts degree from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and received a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University. She grew up in Bethesda, Md., and lives in Cedar Rapids.
“It’s a fabulous place for writing, I think that having a sustained outreach element to the writing community has been a long time coming,” she said. “It definitely seems to me it’s both fulfilling to artists and nurturing to the community to have an outlet that gives back to the community and the next generation.”