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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