Aly Zaas is a force of nature.
For more than two years, Aly has volunteered with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) Intake and Housing teams, and in that time, she has donated an outstanding 1500+ hours to the program.
The Powell native first stumbled upon our website while on an internship search after graduating from Lake Forest College in 2014. Since joining LASC, Aly has primarily conducted filing runs, maintained and improved outreach and education materials, interviewed tenants who are dealing with poor housing conditions, and assisted individuals with writing letters to their landlords to initiate the escrow process.
Aly’s energy and commitment to the program is truly remarkable. She has been known to send emails timestamped 6:00 AM to inform the staff when the filing run will be scheduled that day and has pulled an all-nighter to complete a CLE training binder assembly. Her primary supervisor, Intake Managing Attorney Marcia Palof, comments on how critical her contributions have been: “Aly has been one of those volunteers you can easily take for granted because she is always there when you need her, doing whatever you need to have done, and doing it quickly and efficiently.”
In her “spare” time, Aly also volunteers at the Worthington Resource and Food Pantry, where she currently runs the summer meals program at Slate Hill Elementary, feeding breakfast and lunch to more than 200 children a day who are on the school’s free lunch program. As one could imagine, she does not come across free time often, but when she does she makes the most of it by visiting her friends in Chicago or Washington D.C.
Aly believes that LASC makes a difference in the lives of low-income clients by giving them a voice. She has noticed that “people who live in poverty tend to be treated poorly in many situations, and it probably means a lot to them for someone to be kind to them and try to help them.” Working with LASC clients has been a “serious reality check. I could not believe how some of the landlords treated their tenants.” This volunteer experience has strengthened her belief in treating all clients with the respect that they deserve. She adds that, “I learned that while I cannot change how these clients are treated by others, I can make sure I am kind to them.”
Aly plans to attend law school in the fall, after which she hopes to pursue a career in juvenile defense. Comments Housing Team Managing Attorney Ben Horne: “Aly is not afraid to be a leader, and her ability to work hard and maintain a high quality work product will serve her well in law school.”
Marcia Palof agrees: “We have enjoyed Aly’s energy, her enthusiasm, and her offbeat sense of humor, and we will truly miss her.” Thank you Aly!