Category Archives: News

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.

Media Release – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center announces staff growth and changes

For Immediate Release

For more information contact Terri Speirs, Director of Community Relations, 515-251-6670 or email

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center announces staff growth and changes

Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, Director of Development

July 31, 2019, Des Moines, IA – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (the Center) has hired Laurie Betts Sloterdyk as the director of development, as of July 8, 2019. Terri Mork Speirs has been promoted to director of community relations. The two will collaborate to grow the Center’s donor base, communicate hope and healing, create partnerships, and advance the mission of mental health counseling and education in Central Iowa.

“Joining the Center’s staff offers me a way to be a force for good in a city I love,” said Sloterdyk. “The Center’s commitments to excellence and access are important to me. I can’t wait to help community members channel goodwill in ways that are meaningful to their values.”

“We are excited to move boldly forward with Laurie on staff,” said Jim Hayes, the Center’s executive director. “Laurie’s tremendous competence with events and donor relations is exactly what the Center needs right now to reach our next level of innovation in serving the community. I am grateful to our amazing donor base who make our mission possible, and to our board of directors for their visionary leadership.”

Terri Mork Speirs, Director of Community Relations

“I am thrilled to welcome Laurie to the team,” said Speirs, who has been with the Center since 2015. “For years Laurie has volunteered with our flourishing annual spring luncheon, Women Helping Women, lending her considerable skills for the cause. It is my privilege to join together with such a pro as Laurie to further engage stakeholders for the greater common good.”

Sloterdyk and Speirs bring a combined 47-plus years of nonprofit experience to the Center, an interesting fit to mark the Center’s growth and changes in its 47 years of operation. Founded in 1972, the Center opened its doors with a staff of one counselor. Today, the Center serves a diverse client base through a multidisciplinary staff of 30 clinicians plus a team of steadfast administrators and support staff. The Center was founded on the ideal of providing high quality mental health services to clients from all walks of life, including those from low-income households who are underinsured – a pursuit made possible through a dedicated and generous donor base. #

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.

Media Release – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is awarded $45,000 from Prairie Meadows

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 $45,000 from Prairie Meadows for technology updates and innovation

July 9, 2019, Des Moines, IA – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (the Center) has been awarded a $45,000 Prairie Meadows Community Betterment grant. Funding will provide critical medical technology upgrades for the Center’s 30-clinician-strong practice to maintain HIPAA compliance and ensure data security. Funds will also launch a new initiative at the Center, integrating digital tablets to assess therapeutic metrics and increase client satisfaction. The project is expected to be completed in early 2020.

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

“Thank you to Prairie Meadows for this tremendous boost for our clients and counselors,” said Jim Hayes, the Center’s Executive Director. “Thousands of individuals in Central Iowa will benefit from this generosity.”

Every single person in Iowa is affected by mental health issues. Whether episodic depression, complex trauma or chronic anxiety – psychological concerns are serious and can be life threatening. The needs impact families, businesses, schools and our entire community. However Iowa ranks among the lowest in the nation for providing adequate access to mental health services.

People from all walks of life choose the Center to help manage their mental health needs, although the Center is one of the few metro providers serving individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. As a nonprofit organization, 100 percent of the Center’s board and staff donate resources to support the Center’s mission.

Hayes continued: “The needs in Iowa are great and yet there is hope. I am so proud of the excellence that our clinicians bring on a daily basis. Our long-standing partnership with Prairie Meadows further strengthens our ability to serve the community with innovation and integrity.”

“At Prairie Meadows, we are dedicated to transforming the lives of those living in Central Iowa. We are proud and excited to support this and many other projects in our community,” said Julie Stewart, Prairie Meadows’ Director of Community Relations.

To date, Prairie Meadows has given $1.8 billion to the state of Iowa, with more than $803 million remaining right here in Polk County.

Founded in 1972, 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. The Center serves more than 2,600 individuals annually through holistic counseling and other clinical services (including nearly 700 children and adolescents). Additionally, the Center serves more than 2,400 individuals through education and training services. #

Thank you to our 2018 donors!

Click image to launch 2018 Annual Report Summary

We gratefully acknowledge and thank all who so kindly contributed to the Center in 2018. This generosity brings hope and healing to children, teens and adults in need of high quality mental health services.

CHAMPIONS ($20,000+)
Fred Maytag Family Foundation
Polk County Board of Supervisors

VISIONARIES ($10,000 – 19,999)
American Enterprise Group
Mary and Doug Bruce
Sandra and C. Dean Carlson
Delta Dental of Iowa
Douglas A. Fick
Sammons Financial Group

PATRONS ($5,000 – $9,999)
Robert Burnett
BWA Foundation
Susan and Bill Knapp
Prairie Meadows
Kay and Bob Riley
The Viking Foundation of Lincoln
West Bancorporation Foundation, Inc.
Wells Fargo
Connie Wimer and Frank Fogarty
Sally T. Wood

HEALERS ($2,500 – $4,999)
Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey
Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation
Sharon and Dennis Goldford
Mary Gottschalk and Kent Zimmerman
Sally and Tom Graf
Kathleen and Larry Zimpleman

NURTURERS ($1,000 – $2,499)
Teresa Adams-Tomka
Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure
Sandra L. and Rev. Paul R. Axness
Roxanne Barton Conlin and Jim Conlin
Dr. Barbara Beatty
Borgen Systems
Elizabeth Burmeister
Beth and Tim Coonan
Patty and Jim Cownie
Des Moines University
Paula Duncan
Easter Family Fund
Sondra Eddings
Kathy and William Fehrman
Jann Freed and John Fisher
Judith and Marshall Flapan
Ann Flood
Foster Group
Full Court Press / Iowa Taproom
Barbara and Michael Gartner
Janet and Gary Goodhall
Elizabeth Goodwin
John and Jeannine Hayes
Sarah and Jim Hayes
Diane Hedden
Starr and Harry Hinrichs
Trudy Holman Hurd
Ann and Thomas Holme
Charlotte and Fred Hubbell
Ellen and James Hubbell
Rusty Hubbell
Iowa Foundation for Education, Environment, and the Arts
Iowa Radiology
Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
Dianne and Roger Jones
Charlotte Kimball
Linda and Tom Koehn
Mary Kramer
Mary Langen
Virginia and Nix Lauridsen
Janet Linn
Nancy Main
Sara and Steve Marquardt
LaDonna and Rich Matthes
Meredith Corporation
Karla and Mark Minear
Brenda and Dr. Bernard Mouw
Doris Jean and Owen J. Newlin
Jill and Mark Oman
Orchestrate Hospitality
Mary and John Pappajohn
Stephanie Pearl
Shirley Poertner
Ann and Dr. Michael Richards
Mary Riche
Kelle and Pat Rolfes
Janis Ruan and Mr. John Ruan III
Salon Spa W
Jackie Saunders and Cecil Goettsch
Mary and Stanley Seidler
Dr. Rebecca and Dr. Robert Shaw
Kathy and Ted Stuart
Mary H. Stuart and David Yepsen
Nanette D. Stubbs
Marsha Ternus
The IMT Group
The Iowa Clinic Women’s Center
Thrivent Financial
Toni and Tim Urban
Teresa Van Vleet-Danos
Susan and Carl Voss
Charlene and Mark Vukovich
Marti Wade and Benjamin B Ullem
Rhonda and Joe Watton
West Bank
Alan Zuckert

ADVOCATES ($500 – $999)
Accents + Interiors
Anonymous Anonymous
Christine Bening
Margaret and Arden Borgen
Phyllis and Richard Cacciatore
Bonnie Campbell and Mark Hamilton
Central Presbyterian Church
Carol Corning Hallquist
Davis Brown Law Firm
Davis Brown Law Firm
Lynn Ekblad
First Christian Church
First Christian Church
Deniz Franke
Rosalie Gallagher
Barbara Graham
Lori and Larry Hartsook
Trudie and Hal Higgs
Norma J. Hirsch
Kathleen Hoegh
Connie and Richard Isaacson
Josephs Jewelers
Anne M. and E.J. Kelly
Kemin Industries, Inc.
Jennie Legates and Fritz Wehrenberg
Marian and Ivan Lyddon
Ann Lyons
Rachel and Bill McDonough
Matt Meline
Robyn and Bret Mills
Diane H. Morain
Dawn Connet and Greg Nichols
Barbara and Andy Nish
Rep. Jo Oldson and Brice Oakley
Lynsey Oster
Marianne Parrs
Claudia and Brad Peyton
Deb and Bob Pulver Foundation
Janet and Mark Rosenbury
Sam Scheidler
Melanie Scupham
Judith and Larry Sheldon
Hallie and David Still-Caris
Sarah Sullivan Bigelow and Nicholas Bigelow
Veridian Credit Union
Wells Fargo Advisors
Amy Wimer
Annabel Wimer
Dr. Carey Wimer and Dr. Sean Cunningham
Kathy and Steve Zumbach

SUPPORTERS ($250 – $499)
Susan and Mark Ackelson
Robin Ahnen-Cacciatore and John Cacciatore
Linda and Bob Anderson
Becky Anthony
Stephanie Asklof
Barbara and John Bachman
Susan Ballard
Mary Ann Beard
Connie and Steve Beasley
Doris R. Beebe
Kris Benge
Sandy Benson Johnson
Jan Berg
Jan and Frank Berlin
Kathryn and Tom Bernau
Carol Bodensteiner
Christie and Bob Boesen
Meredith and J.R. Boesen
Nancy Bone
Mary Boote Roth
Mary and Bob Brooks
Michele and Tom Brown
Jamie Buelt
Randi Carr
Kevin Carroll
Espnola Cartmill
LaNae Ceryanec
Joyce and Rick Chapman
John and Holly Clark
Polly Clark and Jim Slife
David and Alicia Claypool
Margaret-Ann and Joseph Comito
Julie Ann and Michael Connolly
Dave and Kristi Dawson
M.J. Dolan
Margaret and Kevin Doyle
Marsha and Ellery Duke
Lou Ebinger and Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger
David J. Egleston
Karen and Arnold Engman
Denise Essman
Lois and Dr. Louis Fingerman
Peggy Fisher and Larry Stelter
Fran Fleck and Terry Greenley
Jim and Allison Fleming
Beth Gaul
Mary Susan and Richard Gibson
Kathy and Scott Giles
Shawna and Paul Gisi
Debbie Gitchell
Diane Glass and J. Jeffrey Means
Suzie Glazer Burt
Linda Goeldner
Patricia and Larry Goetz
Judy Goodwin
Gina and Allan Graham
Bonnie Green
Jill Greiner
Norma Hanke
Lynn and Dr. William Heggen
Cara and Kurt Heiden
Babs and Doug Hein
Jill Hittner
Dixie and Will Hoekman
Michelle Hogan
Debbie and Michael Hubbell
Peggy Huppert
Bev and Michael Hutney
Marian Jacobs
Martha James and Michael Myszewski
Karen and Douglas L. Jeske
Linda Johnson
Connie Cook and Joe Jongewaard
Susan Judkins and Robert Josten
Maureen Keehnle
Suzan Kelsey Brooks
Sue and Ed Kenny
Kathi Koenig
Diane and Keith Krell
Mary and Charles Kunkel
Laden and Pearson, P.C.
Caroline Levine
Christine and Robert Lewis
Jennifer Lock Oman
Kristi Lund Lozier and Bill Lozier
Sharon and Susan Malheiro
Richard and Robbie Malm
Cyril and John Mandelbaum
Kate Massop
Diane and Arthur McClanahan
Claudette and Patrick J McDonald
Andrea and Dan McGuire
Jan and John Mechem
Shirl Melton
Rebecca and Brian Metzger
Ann Michelson
Lisa Minear
Jana Montgomery
Ann and Alfred Moore
Terri Mork Speirs and Robert Speirs
Debra Moyer
Ellen Nelson
Linda Neuman
Liz and Rick Neumann
Pauline and William Niebur
Roy and Mary Nilsen
Charlotte Noble
Nancy Nunn
Dennis and Sandy O’Brien
Jeanne and Jim O’Halloran
Sen. Janet Petersen and Brian Pattinson
Donna Paulsen and Tom Press
Gail Pearl
Sally Pederson and Jim Autry
Muriel and Jim Pemble
Rita Perea
Virginia Peterson
Paul Proksa
Kurt and Lynette Rasmussen
Martha A. Reno
Dixie Rhiner
Dennis Rhodes and Mary Kay Shanley
Dawn and Steve Roberts
Helen Robinson
Katherine and Charles Safris
Lou Ann and Kent Sandburg
Patrice Sayre
Renee and Steve Schaaf
Deb Wiley and John Schmidt
Pam Schoffner
Laurie and Ashley Sloterdyk
Annie S. Brandt and Matt Brandt
A. Joyce Smith
Sue and Larry Sonner
Betty Speas
St. John’s Lutheran Church
Stamatelos & Tollakson, PLLC
Joan Stark
State of Iowa One Gift Pgm
Rachel Stauffer and Jim Lawson
Beth Stelle Jones
Randi Stern
Ellen and Lawrence Strachota
Gail and David Stubbs
Cheryl and Steve Sypal
April Talbot
Sue Ann and Richard Tempero
Joyce and Harold Templeman
Rachel Thorson Mithelman and Jack Mithelman
Ashley Tollakson
Karen and Robert Unrau
Terri Vaughan and Bob Carter
Susan Vujnovich-McRoberts
Marilyn Warling
Linda and William Weidmaier
Karrie and Mark Weinhardt
Michele and Steve Whitty
Malinda Wiesner Hammerstrom
Jean and Robert Williams
Emily Williams-Bouska
Dr. Judy Winkelpleck
Kyrie Wong
Christine and Tony Woods
Roberta and Reg Yoder

FRIENDS ($100 – $249)
Sophia Ahmad and John Helmich
Terra and Jay Amundson
Rep. Marti Anderson and Bob Brammer
Chrystal and James Austin
Leslie Babich
Lori Baker
Mollie and Britt Baker
Jennifer Barp
Michelle Bartusek
Marcia Baumhover
Joan Betts
Patricia Boddy and Robert Davis
Michelle Book
Cynthia Bowen
Judy Bradshaw
Katie Bradshaw
La Verne and Blaine Briggs Donor Advised Fund at the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation
Jane Brimmer
Rachel Bruns
Marilyn Burch
Judith Burns
Albert and Wilma Carter
Cindy Chicoine
Liz and James Chrisinger
Eva and David Christiansen
Kathleen Clark and Erika Ellenbogen
Mary and Milton Cole-Duvall
Evelyn and Kenneth Cook
Meg and Jeff Courter
Patricia and Jay Cramer
Judy Curtis-Latessa
Diane and Charles Cutler
Rachel Dahlen
Troy DeJoode
Elaine Dekovic
Lori and Tim Diebel
Amy Donnelly
Richard and Cris Douglass
Louisa Dykstra
The Middleton Family
Ruth Foster
Shayla and Joel From
Katherine Gamble
Martha Gelhaus and Kevin Pokorny
Priscilla Gilbert
Sandra Githens
Eve and Darrell Goodhue
Nancy Green
Nancy Greening
Gary and Nancy Guthrie
Kathleen Heinzel
Kelli Hill
Jack and Jennifer Hilmes
Brenda and Keith Hobson
Dr. Alex and Cooper Hubbell
Iowa Center for Economic Success
Linda Jennings
Peggy and Joseph Jester
Mary Josten
Megan and Lance Kading
Onnalee Kelley
Angelyn King
David King
Jenna and Izaah Knox
Lynn Knudsen
Susan Koehler
Claire Lamb
Kristen and Joseph Lee
Teri Legg
Angela Loomis
Susan Maher
Ali Makris
Margaret Mallgren
Meghan McConville
Lynn Z. and David G. Mc Creery
Cathy McMullen
Michael McNeil
Reo Menning
Debra Moore and Donn Stanley
Megan Moritz
Cindy Mumm
Maura Nelson and James Stick
Debbie O’Leary and Randy Bauer
Doris and Michael O’Malley
Katie Patterson
Cheryl and Dennis Pederson
Betty and Michael Perry
Susan and Earl Pierce
William Poland
Melissa Poley
Donni Popejoy
Meilssa Primus
Deanna Questad
Dr. Linda Railsback
Kathy Reardon
Michelle Reinert
Gail and Gary Rhodes
Jenny Richmond
Mary Ritchie
Maureen Roach Tobin and Terry Tobin
Tracy Rodgers
Audrey and Harlan Rosenberg
Julie Ross
Anne Roth
Linda and Ruben Rullan
Robert and Marcia Safirstein
Tom Sager
Debra and Neil Salowitz
Christine Sand
Jackie and Richard Seibert
Kimberly and Dr. Craig Shadur
Erica Shannon Stueve
Barb and Bruce Sherman
Marti Sivi
Meg and Chuck Smith
Amy and Bill Spangler-Dunning
Kelly and Kurt Sparks
Amanda Speirs
Cheryl Standing
Reverend David and Betty Stout
Paul H. Strayer, Jr.
Jan Stump
Emily Susanin Kessinger and Mason Kessinger
Mara Swanson
Susan and Anita Terry
Deb Tharnish and Nick Roby
John Tone
Robert Vedral
Ann-Charlotte Wade
Wakonda Christian Church
Cynthia and Kent Wanamaker
Kimberly Weis
Katie Wengert
West Des Moines Christian Church
Martha Willits
Dania Wilson
Windsor Presbyterian Church

COMPANIONS (gifts up to $99)
Colet and Jerry Abramovich
Susan and Charles Anderson
Beverly Apel
Jane Augspurger
Albert Augustine
Doug Aupperle
Erica Axiotis
Bank of America
Delores and Wayne Bauman
Teresa Baustian
Glenys Bittick Lynch
Betty and Merrill Blackburn
Judy Blank
Breakfast Exchange
Anne and Neil Broderick
Natalie Burnham
Ellen and John Burnquist
Marilyn and Frank Carroll
Deborah Cattoor
Diane and Tom Child
Azure and Zach Christensen
Sue Clark
Connie Conlin Newlin
Cris and Julius Conner
Sue Cosner and Gene Blanshan
Cheryl Critelli
Kay Crose
Mary Daily Lange
Teresa Daleske
Janet Daniels
Linda Dawe
Mary Day
Suzanna de Baca
John Dee
Tara Deering-Hansen
Kendall and Mike Dillon
Anonymous Donor
Mary Beth Drey
Linda (Chick) and Mike Duffy
Beth Ann and John Edwards
Julie and Bob Fleming
Jane and Eric Fogg
Carol Fredrich and John Fairweather
Mary Ann and Gene Gardner
Cindy Giunta
Patricia J. Goldberg
Phyllis Goodman
Mary and Randy Gordon
Mary Helen and David Grace
Kimberly Graham
Dennis Grohn
Ron and Sally Hampton
Carrie Hansen
Diana Hansen
Jan and Robert Hardin
Lisa Harms Rickets
Highland Park Christian Church
The Reverend Martha Hill
Heidi Hoffman
Karen and Larry Hoier
Sue and Nick Honkamp
Jody Ingersoll
Amanda Jansen
Nancy Johnson
Becky Kalitzki
Lou Lou Kane
Mary Ellen and James Kimball
Kristi and Lauren Knous
Wendy Knowles
Lois and Roger Kriebs
Gary Lewis
Linda Liston
Richard and Kaye Lozier
Elaine Lundstrom and David Yurdin
Barbara J. Lyford
Katherine Mahoney
Li and Justin Mandelbaum
Lynn and Paul Mankins
Judy McCoy Davis
Louise and Charles McDonald
Carol and Thomas McGarvey
Ramona McKee
Mary Ann and Eugene M. Meister
M. Ann Mendleson
Amy Mills
Polly Moore
Lynn Morse
Cheryl and Roscoe Morton
Marilyn Mullin
Mary and R.W. Nelson
Nancy and Ed Nichols
Jackie and John Norris
Laura and Rodell Nydam
William and Mary O’Brien
Carla and Chuck Offenburger
Catherine Olesen
Vickie Olsen
Cyndi Pederson
Allison and Timothy Peet
Linda Phillips
Linn Phillips
Peg and Layne Rasmussen
Barbara Reiff
Mary Anne and Bob Rennebohm
Wilma Richards
Sandy Riesberg
Sue Roberts
Cassie Sampson
Laura Sands and Dave Busiek
Priscilla Sayeed
Nicky and John Schissel
Barb and Mark Schmidt
Jill and Jack Schreiber
Susan Seidenfeld
Cinda Lu Shambaugh
Craig and Kathy Shives
Gina and Matthew Skinner-Thebo
Carol Sue Smith and Michael Slyby
Deanna Snyder
Siobhan Spain
Barbara and Paul Spong
Martha and John Squire
Heather and Jason Starr
Cynthia Steidl Bishop
Karen and Charles Stockton
Lu and Jim Stone
Carol Stratemeyer
Sr. Cathy Talarico
JoAnne Talarico, CHM
Mary Ann Tayloe
Ellen Taylor and Harvey Harrison
Bobbie Thies
Sheena and Frank Thomas
Reina Toledo
Cecilia J. Tomlonovic
Julie Triplett
Derek Trobaugh
Jill Trobaugh
Elaine Van Dyck
Mary Van Heukelom
Peri L. Van Tassel
Jan Vogel
Marie and Marvin Walker
James Waltrip
Susan Watts
Charyl Sue and Myron White
Jessica Wietzke
Dee Willemsen
Suzann and Wayne Wilson
Sam Wong
Tilly Woodward
JoAnn and Tom Zimmerman

HONOR GIFTS – Gifts were given in honor of:
Eleanor Bricker
Mary Bruce
Janet Carl
Eva Christiansen
Beth Coonan
Connie Wimer
Ellery Duke
Paula Duncan
Dena Goplerud
Mary Gottschalk and Kent Zimmerman
Hal Higgs
Diane McClanahan and Suzanne Stout
Karla and Mark Minear
Kathy Reardon
Andrea Severson
Diane McClanahan and Suzanne Stout
Connie Wimer

MEMORIAL GIFTS – Gift were given in memory of:
Joy Corning
Lizanne Dillon
Walt Githens
Winnie Hayes
Ray Speas

Gifts in Kind
Boxwoods Fine Furnishings
Business Publications Corporation
Connie Wilson Design
Des Moines Radio Group
Iowa Retail Packaging
La Mie Bakery
Susan Koehler
Nothing Bundt Cakes

Greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our donor list and gifts received between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. If we have made an error please contact Terri Speirs, Director of Development and Marketing at 515-271-6670 or

Media Release

2019 Women Helping Women speaker, Gina Skinner-Thebo, and honoree, Susan Voss inspired a crowd of more than 600 people. Click photo to link to full photo album. Credit: Whitney Warne, Ivory House Photography

For Immediate Release


For more information contact: 

Terri Speirs, Director of Development and Marketing, 515-251-6670 or email


Women Helping Women event raises $210,000 to provide mental health services for women and girls in need

May 20, 2019, Des Moines, IA – More than 600 people attended the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s 21st annual Women Helping Women Luncheon on May 17th which raised $210,000 to provide mental health counseling and education to underserved women and girls, helping to address the acute mental health issues in Central Iowa and beyond. This is the most money raised in the event’s history with the proceeds used to increase access to vitally important mental health services.

Young professional and keynote speaker, Gina Skinner-Thebo spoke poignantly of her personal experience with suicide, prompting her to transform her grief into positive action related to awareness and prevention of suicide. Gina founded the Atwood Center for Women, an organization to empower and connect women and help end isolation and self-doubt. The Atwood Center is best known for its Incredible Women Parties held throughout the metro area on a quarterly basis.

Community leader and mental health advocate, Susan Voss, was this year’s event honoree. Susan has given more than ten years of service to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center as both a Board member and Board President and is passionate about ensuring access and quality mental health care is available to all persons in need.

“This remarkable outpouring of generosity from the community will help provide critically important counseling sessions for vulnerable women and girls who would otherwise lack access to services,” said Terri Speirs, the Center’s director of development and marketing. “We are tremendously grateful to our sponsors, donors, attendees and volunteers who gave so much to make the event beautiful and meaningful.” 

Since 1998 the Center’s Women Helping Women luncheon 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 levels.

Founded in 1972, the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to bring hope and healing to people of all ages through counseling and education. The Center served more than 5,000 persons in 2018 including nearly 700 children and adolescents.


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