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Community Leadership Program Team Begins Room for Giving, Room for Living Campaign

January 7, 2015

One of four teams within the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s 2015 Community Leadership Program has partnered with the Beacon of Life and begun a facility renovation project. By mid-April, the Room for Giving, Room for Living campaign endeavors to completely remodel eight bathrooms used by up to 100 residents each year as well as to facilitate a long-term “friendraising” campaign to strengthen Beacon’s relationships with community groups, leaders, donors and volunteers.

The Community Leadership Program team selected the Beacon of Life project after hearing the moving remarks from case manager, Julie Bardin Hewitt. The current property has been the home of Beacon since 1996, and due to the facility’s age, along with the nonprofit’s limited resources, Beacon has had few facility updates. Julie described showers and toilets that leak, vanities with broken doors and fans that do not vent properly as just a few of the issues the women face daily. A complete renovation of the eight bathrooms is necessary for the organization to continue to thrive and provide a safe home for the women in need. When asked what this partnership would mean to Beacon, Julie passionately replied, “Everything!”   Thus, the Community Leadership Program team #Everything was created and the Room for Giving, Room for Living campaign began.

The nine-month Community Leadership Program is designed to raise awareness of challenges that affect the region and enhance participant leadership skills with a focus on community stewardship. The four class projects encourage class members to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in a real-world setting while benefitting local non-profit organizations and ultimately preparing class members to effectively lead change in the Greater Des Moines Community. The other three teams partnered with Community Youth Concepts, Youth Emergency Services and Shelter, and Central Iowa Shelter and Services.

The Beacon of Life has assisted more than 5,000 homeless women in its 35-year history. Beacon facilitates a multi-phase program that provides a safe place to live with the tools and resources needed to break the cycle. "For us, it's about a new beginning. About creating a home and empowering them and helping them get to a level of self-sufficiency,” said Keshia Meissner, executive director.  

Participation in the Room for Giving, Room for Living project is simple with three ways to get involved. In-kind donations can be made through the online registry at myregistry.com/public/beaconoflife. Donations of skilled labor such as plumbing, electrical, and carpentry can be coordinated for multiple renovation dates in the coming months. Finally, cash donations can be made directly to the Beacon of Life using the Room for Giving, Room for Living description. For questions or to get involved, contact Cheryl Tuttle, #Everything Giving Director, at (515) 669-4262 or ctuttle@desmoinesartcenter.org.  Don’t forget to share your support via social media using the hashtag- #EverythingGDMLI. 

Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute

The Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute is Central Iowa’s premier leadership development organization. The Leadership Institute develops, connects, inspires, and challenges community leaders to greater public awareness, commitment and involvement to improve the overall quality of life in our community. Since 1982, more than 1,800 leaders have graduated from Leadership Institute programs.