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Mission: Creating an environment that empowers women in crisis to achieve positive long-term change. Complex and compounding trauma and toxic stress impede childhood and adult development which often results in a cycle that can lead to substance use, poverty, homelessness, being victims of abuse, and even incarceration. At The Beacon, we seek to disrupt this cycle by providing a supportive, trauma-informed environment so that women in crisis can live more productive, fulfilling lives.

Location: Des Moines (56 miles from Grinnell College)

Needs: Resident Assistant (any day/time) or Saturday Night Socials, also, yardwork, painting, outdoor projects, providing transportation for clients to work, run errands, etc.



  • One-time events: yes
  • Ongoing: yes
  • Groups possible? Groups needed to set a special activity for Saturday Night Socials: Plan a fun game or activity with snacks or dinner. Past socials have included: bingo (with inexpensive prizes), completing a craft, cooking together, watching a movie. It can be simple to be effective! It’s all about fun and connection.


When is service needed:   year-round

Number of hours: Flexible hours, as much or little as is possible for the volunteer


  • In-person: yes
  • Hybrid in-person/virtual possible: no
  • Fully virtual possible: no


Background check required: yes

Equipment/logistics needed: Nothing would be needed beyond what is necessary for accessibility.


Training supplied: The more time an intern plans to spend at The Beacon, the more training that will be needed. If they plan to help for 1 – 2 hours a week, minimal training is needed. If they plan to cover the desk on their own, about 8 hours of training is needed.  We provide the training.


How to apply: If anyone is interested in volunteering or completing a practicum or internship at The Beacon, please follow the instructions and fill out the application at first. There is a lot of information on our website about what we do, so that is a great place to get questions answered! After we receive the volunteer application, we will contact you to discuss further. Thank you!

Contact: Melissa Vine, MA, LMHC, 515-244-4713,


Operation information: The Beacon serves adults who identify as women by providing housing and programming during their 6 – 24 month stay, as well as continued support for 12 months following graduation. Nearly all of our clients have experienced significant trauma and have a physical or mental disability, with half of our clients facing three or more diagnosed disabilities or mental illnesses.  While at The Beacon, clients participate in individual and group mental health counseling, substance use support groups, healthy relationships courses, case management, social activities, and house meetings. The case manager connects clients with community partners such as the Evelyn K. Davis Center for financial literacy and career development. Clients are provided with culturally specific support for any marginalized groups to which they may belong. Most importantly, clients are treated with dignity and respect and provided an opportunity to experience family.

Address: 1717 Woodland Ave Des Moines, IA 50309

If you are with this organization and need to update your listing, please access our update form on this page: For Community Partners