Who we are

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
  • Masks
  • 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!



All of the bedrooms, hallways, and stairways at the Beacon house in Sherman Hill are completely remodeled using capital campaign funds so that our facilities reflect the value we place on the clients who stay here.


The Beacon Boutique permanently closes its doors in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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


Found Treasures is relocated to a bigger space at 817 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines and is eventually renamed Beacon Boutique.


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


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


Beacon of Life moves to its new home in Sherman Hill 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.

Senior Staff


Melissa Vine

Executive Director


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

Melissa comes to the Beacon of Life as a trauma-informed, licensed mental health counselor with many years of experience working with women in crisis.  She has also started, purchased, and sold businesses and speaks with organizations regarding mental health and fostering healthy work environments.

Jackie Servellon 2020

Jackie Servellon

Case Manager


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

Jackie comes to the Beacon of Life with many years of experience in case management and trauma-informed work.


Amber Klingenberg

Office Manager


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

Amber comes to the Beacon of Life with significant experience in nonprofit and administrative work, as well as owning her own jewelry business.

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


Katherine Harrington

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020


Kim Babberl

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020


Tena Vasquez

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020


Matthew Neal

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020

Frequently Asked Questions