Category Archives: News

Media Release — Announcing 2022 Event Headliners

Sharon Goldford and Jacquie Easley McGhee will headline the 24th annual fundraiser for the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

Media contact: Shannon Schott, Marketing & Communications Manager, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, 515-251-6665 x120


February 4, 2022 – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is thrilled to announce a dynamic lineup of featured guests and co-chairs for the 24th Annual Women Helping Women event. They, along with a fearless volunteer planning committee, will inspire the community to engage over 500 guests and raise $210,000. Funds will support mental health counseling, education, trainings and other services that impact women, children and families who are uninsured or underinsured. Scheduled for May 20, 2022, the event is expected to be presented in a hybrid format, both online and in person, staged at the Embassy Suites downtown.

Honoree: Sharon Goldford
For decades Sharon has quietly and consistently cared for her community, driven by her innate spirit of generosity. Throughout her business career in religious organizations, human resources, finance and healthcare, she served on the boards of numerous organizations improving the lives of Iowans. Since retirement, she has continued her service by reading the Des Moines Register for the Iowa Radio Reading Service (IRIS), making deliveries for Meals on Wheels to senior citizens, and serving on both the IRIS and the Chrysalis Foundation boards of directors. Sharon is a longtime supporter of the Center as a past member of the board of
directors and as a WHW co-chair and committee member.

Speaker: Jacquie Easley McGhee
Jacquie is a Des Moines native whose impact in the community extends far and wide. Her volunteerism began as a student at Roosevelt High School and has evolved in the decades since to include engagement in nearly every area of local government. Her commitment to health equity is intrinsic. Today, Jacquie is the Division Director of Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion for MercyOne Iowa. She is the Health Chair of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP and the Vice Chair of Early Childhood Success for United Way of Central Iowa. Jacquie strives to live up to the investment the community made in her and return that investment back to her community.

2022 Co-Chairs: Rachel Hardin and Laura Palmer
The 30-member volunteer planning committee is led by a superstar team of co-chairs who each bring their own stamp of leadership and commitment to mental health access:

Co-Chair: Rachel Hardin
A transplant from Minnesota, Rachel has built a life in Des Moines and has grown to love this community. She serves as the Director of Physician Services for UnityPoint Health and is the President-Elect of the Junior League of Des Moines. Any moments not occupied by work are spent with her husband, Matt, and their poorly trained English Springer Spaniel, Millie.

Co-Chair: Laura Palmer
A lifelong Iowan who values the U.S. Postal Service and a thoughtfully handwritten note, Laura Palmer started XO-LP in 2009 producing whimsical illustrations made with markers and wit. Since 2014 Laura has been a full-time illustrator working with clients like Facebook, Better Homes and Gardens, Carrie Underwood and her 4-year-old nephew.

“I am proud to work with this inspiring group of women who live up to their commitment to care for others,” said Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, Director of Development at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. “The Women Helping Women event will be an uplifting experience for all who participate on May 20, and for vulnerable women, children and families who will benefit throughout the year.”

Since 1999, the annual event has raised more than $1.6 million for women and children who experience violence, poverty, trauma, depression, anxiety, abuse and other issues that can be addressed through counseling, psychiatry, self-discovery, and education.

The Center is one of few providers in Greater Des Moines who serve people from all income levels, including those from low-income households who are underinsured or uninsured – with thanks to generous community support.

For more information about Women Helping Women, or to reserve your seat early through a Leader gift or a sponsorship, please go to Or contact Laurie Betts Sloterdyk at 515-564-5122


The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to walk with people through counseling and education to find hope and healing, and live a fulfilling life. Annually, the Center serves more than 4,000 individuals (including nearly 700 children and adolescents plus their families), offering holistic mental health counseling and education through 30 multidisciplinary clinicians. The Center is one of few providers in Central Iowa who serve those who are uninsured or underinsured.




Learn how Bank of America cares for their employees!

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center recently partnered with Bank of America to offer wellness services to BOA employees.

October 2020 – It’s called preventative maintenance, an upstream approach to health and well-being.

Corporations and organizations are very aware of the many difficulties and challenges employees are facing during the pandemic and the chronic, long-term stress it is causing. One of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s generous donors, Bank of America, is taking a proactive approach.

Bank of America staff in Iowa have launched a series of physical and emotional wellness opportunities for their teammates called Get Iowa Moving.  They are running four different activities every other week from September through October. Activities include, walking outdoors, guided mindfulness meditation, chair yoga, and desk exercises. All sessions begin with a reminder of the benefits and programs the bank offers and how to take advantage of them, especially though their employee networks. Bank of America knows that members of their employee networks feel more connected and engaged at work, which is an important component of overall wellness.

Annie Brandt

“I was talking with my market president about ways we can connect with our team in this virtual world, and she reminded me of her often repeated mantra, ‘Move your body, heal your mind.’  I thought of the things Bank of America is offering teammates across the country like chair yoga and guided mindfulness meditation. I thought it could be a fun way to further engage our Iowa teammates if we made it local and special for us.”  Says, Annie Brandt, Bank of America Senior Vice President and Market Manager for Iowa.  Annie is also a long-time supporter of the Center, 2019 Women Helping Women co-chair and volunteer.

Would you like to get your team involved in preventative healthcare? Learn more about the Center’s mindfulness offerings HERE.

Allison Peet

Written by Allison Peet, certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction instructor.

Kathy Reardon made the Center better

(back to the Kathy Reardon tribute home page)

by James E. Hayes, D.Min., executive director and spiritual director at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

Kathy Reardon has made the Center better in many ways since she joined us in 2001. That’s why it was difficult for me to hear when she asked for some time last month to inform me that she planned to retire from the Center at the end of July 2020. Difficult to hear and yet I’m happy for her as this pandemic has helped her to discern the next chapter of her life and how she can continue to make a difference in the lives of others. She is already missed. Though she is retiring from the Center, she remains energized by her spiritual direction practice. She has found virtual meetings from her home cloister to be fruitful and she looks forward to continuing that practice. We look forward to her staying connected to the Center and being a resource for future inspirational offerings.

In typical Kathy fashion, she didn’t want to make a big deal about her retirement. Those who know her understand that she’s a contemplative at heart—and an introvert. Being the center of attention causes discomfort. Those who know her and how much she’s contributed to the Center also know that she has been a big deal in making a difference. She changed the way we serve by bringing her breadth of skills to the service of our mission. She created new services; changed our vocabulary as she helped us to understand words like “healing touch;” brought the heart of a prophet to our systems so that all might be treated with equal shares of love. I was privileged to experience many of her gifts in our short three years of working together. She helped me to understand this place as she asserted her leadership skills and gave me sound advice on issues that needed tending as I started my time as an executive director. She was a confidant when I needed advice on difficult decisions. She helped me to understand better what holistic healing means in our work. Most importantly, she helped me to grow in my own understanding of ultimate mystery through formal workshops and simple daily comments in the workplace that alerted us all to the depth of each moment in the context of the everlasting now. Thank you Kathy!

As my time with Kathy was not decades in length, I asked colleagues who had such tenure to share some thoughts about Kathy’s contributions.

From Susan Ackelson, former Center counselor who also retired recently:

Kathy brought a focus on the body and spirituality with her holistic nursing, healing touch and spiritual direction along with her training in mental health.  The body aspect was completely new for the Center and her work in helping us integrate this new aspect of holistic treatment was critical.  She helped us expand our knowledge of other therapeutic body practices by inviting practitioners of alternative health modalities to meet the staff.  She then initiated community education forums for our clients and community members to educate on alternative health modalities.  She also developed a holistic assessment tool for therapists to use in evaluating their clients. Kathy led a weekly meditation group for our staff for years. 

From Ellery Duke, licensed psychologist and former executive director:

I recall the breakfast meeting at Village Inn in 2001when Jeff, Eileen and I met with Kathy about the prospect of her joining the Center’s staff, doing spiritual direction and Healing Touch.  We of course wanted her to bring spiritual direction and Healing Touch to the Center’s growing interest in the integration of mind, body, and spirit healing.  Kathy brought her understanding of, and expression of healing based in her nursing and spiritual direction backgrounds.  Through the ideas of Kathy, Jeff Means, Kay Riley, and others, the highly regarded PrairieFire program was launched.  Over 100 have been trained through PrairieFire.  It was through Kathy’s ground-breaking work in spirituality at the Center that Diane McClanahan came on board to further expand the Center’s offerings in spirituality and ministry.  Kathy’s spirit-based, mindful approach to life has certainly shaped how the Center expresses its mission.  Thank you.

As the pandemic precludes any formal gathering, we hope to gather more such thoughts to celebrate Kathy’s contributions to our mission. Feel free to send your recollections and notes of gratitude to her directly. If you send them to the Center, we’ll make sure she gets those. At some point we hope to have an appropriate celebration for any who have retired in this age of pandemic.

If you are interested in honoring Kathy with a donation to the PrairieFire fund,  you may donate here.

With gratitude for the many people touched by Kathy’s work, we ask that she be blessed with abundant life as she begins this next chapter of her life’s story.


Heartfelt thank you to Kathy Reardon – pioneer and educator

Kathy Reardon, R.N., M.S., Spiritual Director, Holistic Healer

Kathy Reardon retired from the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center in August 2020 after 17 years of innovative leadership and service in holistic healing — integrating mind, body and spirit into the therapeutic process.

As one beloved by many, we are pleased to honor Kathy with reflections from her long-time colleagues, and also by offering a way for you to join in the tributes.

Tributes to Kathy Reardon

How you can thank and honor Kathy Reardon

  • Send Kathy a note or letter via the Center:

Attn: Kathy Reardon

Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

8553 Urbandale Ave.

Urbandale, IA 50322

  • Donate to the PraireFire fund in honor of Kathy Reardon:



Kathy Reardon and Kay Riley, co-founders of the Center’s PriaireFire spiritual renewal program were honored in 2016 with a concert by singer/songwriter Sara Thomsen.

Thank you to our 2020 spring grantors

Thank you to our 2020 spring grantors from January – June 2020 for giving almost $40,000 of grant funds to provide critical support to children, teens and adults to access high quality mental health services. Grant funders include:

  • American Enterprise
  • BWA Foundation
  • Chrysalis
  • Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
  • Delta Dental
  • Rotary Club of Des Moines A.M. Foundation
  • West Bank

Funding has supported innovative services including:

  • telehealth training and equipment as part of the Center’s covid-19 emergency response
  • suicide prevention and support for families who experience suicide loss
  • therapeutic supplies for C.O.O.L. (C.O.O.L. = Children Overcoming the Obstacles of Life)
  • counseling and education subsidies for clients who are uninsured or underinsured and from low-income families

With tremendous thanks to our donors, the Center is one of the only mental health providers in Central Iowa who serves people from all walks of life, including a range of income levels.






Club of Des Moines A.M. Foundation     


Congratulations Allison Peet for reaching highest level of MBSR certification

Allison Peet, Certified MBSR Instructor

We are proud to report that Allison Peet, who teaches a popular class at the Center, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has earned her distinction as a *CERTIFIED* MBSR instructor  — one of the highest levels of training. She is the only Certified MBSR instructor in Des Moines.

Allison’s accomplishment has brought life and joy to hundreds of people in our community. Her excellence is a result of hard work and compassion. Allison’s accomplishment by the numbers:

  • 4 years of dedication and discipline
  • 32 days of silent meditation retreats
  • 600+ teaching hours
  • 20 8-week MBSR™ courses to date
  • 150 graduates of her program
  • 300 professional mindfulness training hours
  • 200 yoga teacher training hours
  • thousands of miles of travel
  • countless hours on the cushion “walking the talk” in her own personal mindfulness practice
  • infinite commitment to helping others learn this life-giving practice

Allison shares this about her milestone: “This moment marks one of my proudest (and most humbling) moments of my life. It is such a privilege to teach this authentic, vulnerable, heartful, compassionate way of living.”

Allison has taught as a qualified MBSR instructor since 2016. Her training and certification is from the Mindfulness Center at Brown University in Providence, Rhode, Island. Brown is a global leader in research and training offering a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction™ (MBSR) teacher training track towards becoming an MBSR Teacher.

For more information about MBSR classes at the Center and Allison Peet’s qualifications:

More about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Mindfulness for Beginners – 4 week class

Private Mindfulness Sessions

Blessing Practice for a Pandemic

Dr. Christine Dietz

By Dr. Christine Dietz, counselor, spiritual director, and training director at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

I have often thought of Jewish observance as an ancient mindfulness practice. The rituals, prayers, blessings and practices that Jews engage in offer multiple opportunities to move from mochin d’katnut (small mind, the ego) to mochin d’gadlut (expansive mind, a more universal perspective) every day. One way to understand halakhah, often translated as law or observance, is as a way of walking, as the root of the word may be translated as “to go” or “to walk.” Judaism is how we walk our walk, and blessings can be part of this walk.

I was reminded of this perspective last Friday night when Rabbi Barton reminded us that, traditionally, Jews are supposed to say 100 blessings a day. While I aspire to being able to do that, I am not there yet. At the same time, the idea of pausing and tuning in to a larger perspective multiple times a day does appeal to me, especially at this time, when we are in both a pandemic of illness and a pandemic of fear, as Rabbi Sacks observed ( As a psychotherapist and spiritual director, I witness the pandemic of fear every day. Since I don’t know all of the traditional blessings and don’t yet have the awareness or discipline to recite 100 of them every day, I decided to try saying blessings for 100 people each day during this time of self-isolation and fear. I offer some ideas about how I might do that below and invite you to think about your own ways of offering blessings to the world at this time.

First, I would like to share a Jewish version of the metta meditation, a traditional Buddhist lovingkindness meditation, that I learned from Shaye Cohen and Bahira Sugarman. It is traditional to offer the blessings first for yourself, then for others:

  • May you be blessed with shalom (peace, wholeness)
  • May you be blessed with ahavah (love)
  • May you be blessed with refuah (healing)
  • May you be blessed with simcha (joy)
  • May you be blessed with kol tov (whatever is best)

Next, you might bless those who are most affected by the virus. For me, one of the hardest things about this pandemic is the isolation that can result from shelter in place orders, or when affected people are quarantined.

I am acutely aware from personal experience of how this affects both the affected individual and their loved ones. In 2018, my 95-year-old father was quarantined after acquiring MERSA in the hospital where he went for surgery after a fall. He had been in good health prior to the infection but rapidly declined. Visitors were limited and required to take extreme protective measures. He died alone in isolation while my mother and sister were ordered to evacuate due to a flood that same day. My mother is still haunted by the thought of him dying alone and not being able to say goodbye.  As a psychotherapist, I am also aware of how many people live alone with their anxiety about themselves or their loved ones becoming ill and being unable to be together.

Bless Those Affected by The Virus


  • The sick
  • The lonely and those who are distant from loved ones
  • Children who are ill or separated from their parents
  • The poor
  • The homeless
  • Immigrants and refugees
  • Prisoners
  • Asylum seekers
  • Those who are confined at home with abusers or unsafe people
  • Those who tested positive and are in hospitals
  • Those who tested positive and are in quarantine at home
  • Those who can’t get tested
  • Those who are or may have been exposed to the virus and are waiting to see if they develop symptoms
  • Those who have lost their jobs
  • Those whose incomes have been or will be reduced
  • Those whose businesses are affected
  • Those who need mental health services and don’t have access to care
  • Those who need other kinds of health care that is being pre-empted by this virus
  • Those (all of us) who are anxious
  • Those who are depressed and in despair
  • Those who are mourning or will be mourning without the in person support of their communities
  • There are many others – please add your own


Mister Rogers has been quoted a lot these days: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’” (Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, October 29, 2018). Mr. Bogost worries that this may be bad advice for adults if it leads to complacency or passivity. For me, “looking for the helpers” gives me hope and leads me to consider how I, too, can be a helper. I can also be mindful of who is helping and offer blessings for them. See Mr. Bogost’s article here:

Bless the Helpers

  • Health care workers in the front lines, risking exposure, working long hours without personal protective equipment, fearful of exposing family and friends to the virus: doctors, nurses, CNAs, technicians and other medical personnel.
  • People who work behind the scenes in health care institutions, including cleaners, food service workers, administrative staff and assistants, who face many of the same risks as those above.
  • Religious and spiritual care providers in hospitals and other health care facilities: clergy, chaplains and others.
  • Volunteers and any others working in health care institutions.
  • Workers in long-term care facilities and hospice, who face the same risks as those in hospitals as well as the expectation that most of those exposed to the virus will die. These include nurses, social workers, physicians, chaplains, bereavement counselors and others.
  • Workers in government agencies, including Departments of Public Health, research facilities, Departments of Mental Health, Departments of Human Services, CDC, WHO and many more, who are doing research, issuing guidelines, making decisions without adequate information, and working long hours.
  • Scientists and researchers working frantically to develop treatments and vaccines.
  • Policy makers at all levels of government.
  • School personnel, from administrators to teachers, who are trying to keep children safe, healthy, fed and educated without much to support them except their dedication and creativity.
  • Mental health workers at all levels and in all types of facilities, who are trying to provide hope and healing, either directly or from a distance, in a confused landscape of conflicting regulations, payment restrictions and limitations while trying to keep their organizations running.
  • The Boards of Directors and administrators of non-profit organizations, religious institutions and government services who are trying to offer their services at a distance and without certainty of compensation.
  • Religious and spiritual leaders and care providers: clergy, chaplains, spiritual directors, teachers of all types, who are working locally, nationally and globally to provide hope, inspiration and comfort.
  • Local emergency services whose work does not end during a pandemic: police, fire fighters, EMTs, dispatchers, etc.
  • Those who provide food and supplies despite risks to themselves and low wages: stockers, drivers, food service workers, cashiers, store managers and others.
  • Employees of necessary services who keep things running: sanitation, utilities, technology providers, repair people.
  • There are many others. Please add your own.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list – it is just what I came up with this morning. I plan to add to it daily, creating an ever longer list of people to bless. I also hope that this practice, rather than making me complacent, will lead me to find tangible ways to support these people, whether through contact by phone or video chat, donations, letters of encouragement or other creative ways.

During Purim this year, I was particularly drawn to Mordechai’s words to Esther (Esther 4:14): “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” I am asking myself, and I invite you to ask yourself, whether you, too, are in this time and place to offer what you, uniquely, can and how you will do it. In the words of Psalm 69:14, as translated by Rabbi Yael Levy, (Directing the Heart: Weekly Mindfulness Teachings and Practices from the Torah. (2019) Philadelphia, PA: A Way In).

“I am my prayer to you,

Aligned with the Highest Will in this very moment.

With great love and generosity,

Receive me with the truth of your presence.”

How will you be your prayer?


Christine Dietz, Ph.D., L.I.S.W., is a licensed independent social worker, spiritual director and Reiki Master. She is the Center’s Director of Clinical Training. She received her M.S.W. from the University of Iowa and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is a graduate of the Lev Shomea Training Program for Spiritual Direction in the Jewish Tradition. Christine’s focus in counseling is on helping people reconnect to their innate wholeness and renew their sense of hope and possibility. She works with people experiencing anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma, life transitions, chronic illness, grief and loss, and relationship issues. She also offers individual and group spiritual direction to people from all faith traditions. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and Spiritual Directors International.

News — Mary Riche and Jackie Servellon to headline the 22nd annual Women Helping Women luncheon

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center announces the honoree and speaker for the 22nd annual Women Helping Women luncheon

December 10, 2019, Des Moines, IA — Two highly respected community advocates will headline the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s 22nd annual Women Helping Women luncheon on May 15, 2020 in Des Moines.

Mary Riche, Honoree, 2020 Women Helping Women (high resolution image)

Proceeds support counseling, education, trainings and other services that impact women, children and families who are underinsured or from low income households.

Mary Riche, retired therapist and marketing professional, will be honored as an effective leader in many sectors including mental health, women’s issues, and civic engagement. Mary is a longtime supporter of the Center as a past member of the board of directors and more recently as a co-chair of the 2018 WHW event.

Jackie Servellon, local business owner and human services provider, will deliver the keynote address – sharing her personal story of hope and healing as a survivor of domestic violence. Jackie will speak on this devastating reality for many women and girls, and how the power of counseling changed her.

Jackie Servellon, Speaker, 2020 Women Helping Women (hi resolution image)

“Jackie and Mary are strong, giving and amazing women who will bring much meaning to our luncheon,” said Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, the Center’s director of development. “On behalf of the many women who seek to heal from heartbreaking life challenges – thank you to Jackie and Mary for saying ‘yes’ to serving the community in this way.”

The luncheon will be held on May 15, 2020 at the Embassy Suites by the river in downtown Des Moines. The Center expects to host 600 guests and raise more than $200,000. Since 1998 the event has raised more than $1.2 million, providing access and care to thousands of women and girls – a population who experience poverty, crime and abuse at disproportionately high rates. To follow news on the 2020 Women Helping Women luncheon and learn how you can be involved, please visit #

Related news:

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to walk with people through counseling and education to find hope and healing, and to live a fulfilling life. Annually, the Center serves more than 2,600 individuals (including nearly 700 children and adolescents) through holistic counseling and other clinical services. Additionally, the Center serves more than 2,400 individuals annually through mental health education and training services.

For more information contact:
Terri Speirs, director of community relations
Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center
515-251-6670 or email

Training the next generation of mental health counselors

Training the next generation of mental health counselors

By Terri Speirs, Director of Community Relations

October 14, 2019 – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is pleased to welcome two new graduate practicum students for the 2019-2020 academic year. Erin Moskal is a graduate student in the clinical mental health program at Drake University. Emily Yen is a graduate student in the social work program at the University of Iowa. Erin and Emily form the latest cohort in a unique professional formation program that offers an intensive, structured group training experience.

“We are thrilled to welcome Erin and Emily,” said Dr. Christine Dietz, who directs the training program and is also a licensed clinical social worker and spiritual director at the Center. “The training program adds another layer of richness to the Center’s culture of learning as we all learn from one other.”

The Center’s Graduate Training Program was founded in 1980 to help address a mental health workforce need in the state of Iowa, and since then has graduated more than 125 mental health providers with an expanded knowledge base.

But the program isn’t for the faint of heart! The students are embedded into the very heart of the Center’s work through the following expectations:
• Ten-hour orientation process prior to beginning their placements.
• One-hour weekly of individual supervision and 1 hour of group supervision.
• One to two hours weekly of group case discussions with Center clinical staff.
• Required to present all intakes to supervisory staff.
• Required to present at least one case conference to the entire body of clinical staff.
• Required to participate in three didactic seminars (becoming a therapist, trauma-informed counseling, and LGBTQ-affirmative counseling) as well as , an assessment seminar and an integrative seminar.

“The Center takes seriously a responsibility to do our part to prepare the next generation of counselors,” said Jim Hayes, executive director. “With Iowa being in almost last place in terms of mental health workforce availability, we are extremely grateful to our donors who make it possible to offer our unique training program to graduate students seeking a rigorous educational experience.”

The Center’s training program has earned a reputation as one of very best, and one-of-a-kind in terms of the quality and depth of the learning. The Center invests more than $50,000 annually into the program. It is only possible due to the Center’s broad-base of community support as the students do not pay tuition, and their respective academic institutions do not reimburse the Center for the costs associated with the training.

For more information about the Center’s training program:

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to walk with people through counseling and education to find hope and healing, and live a fulfilling life. Annually, the Center serves more than 2,600 individuals through holistic mental health counseling and other clinical services (including nearly 700 children and adolescents). Additionally, the Center serves more than 2,400 individuals annually through mental health education and training services.

News Release

For Immediate Release

For more information contact
Terri Speirs, director of community relations
515-251-6670 or email

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is awarded $5,000 grant from West Bancorporation Foundation

Geoffrey Gade, West Bank vice president; Jim Hayes, executive director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center; and Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, director of development, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

September 16, 2019, Des Moines, IA – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (the Center) has been awarded $5,000 from West Bank’s charitable foundation, West Bancorporation Foundation. This funding supports a three-year project to increase administrative efficiencies and client satisfaction through technology upgrades. The project is a one-time, multifaceted equipment and software boost that will annually benefit more than 2,600 children, adolescents and adults in who need high quality mental health services — and 2,400 individuals who need mental health training and education.

“West Bank has been a proud supporter of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center and the good work they do for many years,” said Geoffrey Gade, West Bank vice president, who also serves on the Center’s board finance committee. “The Center fills a need in our community and helps make Greater Des Moines a better place to live.”

“West Bank’s charitable foundation is proud to be a long-time supporter of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center and its mission to improve the lives of Central Iowans through its comprehensive counseling and education services,” said Jill Thompson Hansen, senior vice president/human resources and executive director, West Bancorporation Foundation. “We value our partnership and always know that our funding, whether to directly benefit those services or to support capital investments that create efficiencies and expand capacity, will be put to good use.”

Click image for printer friendly version

Since 1972 the Center has offered unique mind-body-spirit approaches to processing difficult life challenges such as depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, addiction, suicide and other issues. Clients may address their concerns through a variety of techniques at the Center including counseling, psychiatry, spiritual direction, renewal opportunities and educational classes.

“Our clinicians are trained to walk alongside clients through dark times with compassion and skill,” said the Center’s executive director Jim Hayes. “We are tremendously grateful to West Bank for this critical support to our administrative infrastructure that enables us to provide holistic, innovative and effective services.”

“Thank you to West Bank for this generous gift that will benefit the whole community,” said Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, the Center’s director of development. “As a nonprofit organization we are deeply grateful to our steadfast donors who help us make our services not only excellent, but also accessible to the underinsured and uninsured.”

The Center is one of few providers in Greater Des Moines who serves people from all income levels, including those from low-income households who are underinsured or uninsured. This is only possible through generous community support. #

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to bring understanding, hope and healing to people of all ages through counseling and education. Annually, the Center serves more than 2,600 individuals through holistic counseling and other clinical services (including nearly 700 children and adolescents). Additionally, the Center serves more than 2,400 individuals annually through education and training services.