After years in a successful marketing career that took her across the globe, Kellie decided it was time to settle back into her hometown of Des Moines, where she began flipping houses for income. She leaned into volunteerism as a way to reconnect with the community and make friends.
While volunteering with teen girls at Y.E.S.S., Kellie was shocked by the nature and severity of abuse the children in our community endure. She was inspired to become a foster parent. It wasn’t long before her worlds merged: she discovered the home that would become Dorothy’s House.
She purchased the home, the adjacent home and the empty lot between the two. She immediately began working on the properties and found a groundswell of support in the community. The homes opened in January 2016 as a “safe place for the practice of life for those whose lives have been interrupted by human trafficking, exploitation and prostitution.”
While earning her bachelor’s degree, Shannon worked on campus to develop sexual assault programming, and volunteered off campus with organizations focusing on homelessness, domestic violence, incarceration, and sexual exploitation and trafficking. After school, she moved to Iowa and connected with several anti-trafficking community coalitions, including working with Teens Against Human Trafficking, a program of YSS that provides prevention education to communities and youth. Shannon joined Dorothy’s House as the program director in 2018. She is pursuing her master’s in clinical mental health counseling at Drake University. She says the best thing about the work we do at Dorothy’s House is helping participants step into their own power to imagine and build the lives they want to live.
Lyndsie earned her bachelor’s degree in criminology at the University of Iowa, where her eyes were first opened to the human trafficking industry. She immediately became interested in pursuing a career related to victim rights and advocacy. At Dorothy’s House, she worked as direct-care staff and as a care coordinator before becoming our services director. She is passionate about working with survivors and walking alongside them during their recovery. She helps build bridges between the community and Dorothy’s House in order to provide services, opportunities and resources to our participants.
Kelly brings a diverse skill set to Dorothy’s House. She earned a paramedic license and an associate’s degree in criminal justice with a focus on child abuse trauma and juvenile justice. She worked with youth at Youth Homes of Mid America and Y.E.S.S. before moving into the corporate world, where she gained leadership experience in coaching and training. Her desire to make a positive change in her community led her to learn about Dorothy’s House and make a career shift. Her hope for all participants is that they find the grace to love themselves again. “When the little girl is healed, the woman shows up.”
Dawn’s passion for helping women see their own beauty started when she was a certified cosmetologist and esthetician. But she took that passion much deeper and began seeking out ways to do more for women and work with survivors. She’s volunteered for many organizations throughout the metro and, after attending several support groups and seminars related to human trafficking, landed with us at Dorothy’s House. She says one of the best things about our work at Dorothy’s House is helping survivors become aware of their strengths and build from them — giving them hope for their futures.