Our Mission

To create an environment that empowers women in crisis to achieve positive long-term change.

Shelter, Safety and Support

For almost 40 years, Beacon of Life has been a guiding light for women in our community experiencing homelessness due to trauma, substance abuse, domestic violence and incarceration. Of our residents, 85 percent are rebuilding self-sufficiency after being involved in the criminal justice system. Our program isn’t just about finding a job or having a place to live — it’s about repairing broken relationships, building new ones, creating boundaries and strengthening the mind, body and spirit.

Beacon of Life, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is the only shelter in Central Iowa that provides transitional housing with supportive services in a structured environment exclusive to single women. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, our safe and secure facility is fully equipped with a pantry, kitchen, laundry room, activity room and around-the-clock staff for 34 women. It affords both anonymity and a sense of belonging, allowing our residents to overcome addictions, trauma and personal struggles through our financial, health and wellness, employment and recovery programs.

We appreciate financial gifts of all sizes, as well as the following in-kind donations for our resident facility (in order of importance):

  • Copy paper
  • Liquid dish soap
  • DART bus tokens
  • Cleaning supplies (glass, all-purpose, toilet)
  • Paper towels
  • New women’s underwear (all sizes)
  • New socks (all sizes)
  • New bras (all sizes)
  • Kitchen drying towels
  • Liquid laundry soap
  • Feminine hygiene products

For direct shipment to Beacon of Life, use Amazon Smile to purchase these products — and .05 percent of the proceeds will be donated back to our organization!



Beacon Boutique moves to its new home, an even bigger and better location, at 1974 Grand Avenue (Normandy Shopping Plaza).


Found Treasures is renamed Beacon Boutique, helping to make a direct connection to store sales supporting Beacon’s mission.


Found Treasures is relocated to a bigger space at 817 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines.


Found Treasures, Beacon of Life's resale store, is established in the Valley Junction area of West Des Moines.


Beacon of Life is and expanded to include wheelchair accessibility and office space.


Beacon of Life moves to its new home at 1717 Woodland Avenue.


Beacon of Life is incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and establishes a board of directors. The organization also begins providing shelter and programs to homeless women.


Beacon of Life is founded through the collaborative efforts of local Methodist churches, with the mission of providing basic resources — including clothing and food — to homeless women in Central Iowa.



Melissa Vine

Executive Director


Melissa is responsible for the overall strategic plan and operations of the Beacon, including staff, programs, expansion, fundraising, development and execution of its mission.


Stacie Ricklefs

Events and Marketing Coordinator


Stacie is responsible for the overall marketing plan and event operations for Beacon of Life and Beacon Boutique.


Ruth Kunkle

Case Manager & Intake Coordinator


Ruth is responsible for providing comprehensive assessment, planning, implementation and overall evaluation of each of our resident’s needs during their stay at the Beacon.


Amber Klingenberg

Office Manager


Amber manages the Beacon's daily operations and administrative tasks, while providing support to both the Executive Director and Case Manager.


Valerie Herdeaz

Beacon Boutique Store Manager


Valerie manages the operations and development of the Beacon Boutique, volunteer training and recruitment, and community engagement and awareness.

Board of Directors

Jill Niswander

Jill Niswander


Member since 2016

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Katie Caggiano


Member since July 2020


Emily Berrier

Vice President

Member since July 2019


Travis Simpson

Past President

Member since October 2015

Shannon-close up

Shannon Sobek


Member since July 2018


Skyler Roorda

At Large Board Member

Member since 2016

John Edited #2

John Ferguson

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2016

Regan close up

Regan Wilson

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2018

Kristin Close up

Kristin Kuykendall

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2019


Kim Babberl

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020


Tena Vasquez

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020


Katherine Harrington

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020


Matthew Neal

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020

Frequently Asked Questions