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!

History

2016

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

2015

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

2013

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

2010

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

2000-2001

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

1997

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

1985

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.

1980

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.

Staff

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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.

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Stacie Ricklefs

Events and Marketing Coordinator

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

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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.

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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.

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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

President

Member since 2016

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Katie Caggiano

Treasurer

Member since July 2020

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Emily Berrier

Vice President

Member since July 2019

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Travis Simpson

Past President

Member since October 2015

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Shannon Sobek

Secretary

Member since July 2018

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Skyler Roorda

At Large Board Member

Member since 2016

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John Ferguson

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2016

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Regan Wilson

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2018

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Kristin Kuykendall

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2019

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Kim Babberl

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020

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Tena Vasquez

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020

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Katherine Harrington

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020

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Matthew Neal

At Large Board Member

Member since July 2020

Frequently Asked Questions