Help Make Iowa a Safer Place
YESS is a Safe Place shelter, and accordingly we need to check in annually with all Safe Place locations in the Des Moines metro. There are more than 120 sites we need to monitor before December 31, 2020, and we want your help! Sign up to be a volunteer during our Blitz Week (December 7th-11th). Fun contests and prizes are included!

Contact Brette Puhl at for more details and to sign up.
Meet Jessica

When Jessica came to the YESS shelter with her father, she was angry – angry at him, angry at the world, angry at every little thing that came her way. Jessica’s father wasn’t sure what to do anymore. Jessica would throw fits in public, screaming at the top of her lungs. She even called the police on her dad, reporting that he stole her phone. He admitted that he took it away, but it was punishment for poor behaviors. Placing her in the shelter seemed like his only hope. Jessica and her father were like oil and water with a match waiting to set things off.

Jessica waited in the shelter lobby while her father had a crisis counseling session with a caring staff member. Her father talked about how frustrated he was with his daughter. He felt that she was ungrateful for all he did for her – enrolling her in sports and extracurricular activities, letting her see her friends, and letting her have her own phone. He said he didn’t know what do to anymore and needed a break.
Shelter staff recommended that Jessica stay in the Respite Care Unit for a few days so she and her father could take a break from each other. Staff also recommended that the father look into additional services for Jessica, such as a mental health assessment, therapy, and in-home skill-building sessions. Jessica’s father agreed that this sounded like the best plan.
Jessica screamed at her father as he drove away, but once she was in the Respite Care Unit, she calmed down and began sharing her feelings with trained staff members. Jessica said she didn’t like the rules her father put in place and that she wanted to do whatever she pleased at home. Staff talked with Jessica about her feelings and provided a structured but caring environment in which she could cool down.
After three days, Jessica went home with her father, definitely more relaxed and peaceful than when she arrived. She admitted she needed to get control of her emotions and reactions and try to find better ways to engage with her father. Jessica enrolled in therapy services and she continues to work toward better managing her emotions and behaviors.

$2000 in New Books

New Chapters Libraries had the opportunity to perform a complete inventory of our library. We lose books every year, but due to the difficulties of the past several months, numerous kids took a book with them to provide comfort at their next placement. They utilized this opportunity to purchase replacement books for the most popular titles, add books to series that may not have been complete, and purchase new releases. They added over 200 new books with more to come!
Paul Woodard generously donated his Toyota Avalon to YESS, providing an invaluable vehicle for the staff to complete our mission of changing lives by protecting children and empowering families. Paul shared that this would be an emotional time, seeing the car drive off. The YESS staff signed a box of tissues for that moment and to show our appreciation. Paul is giving Chris last minute advice, "You better not put a single scratch on this!"
Wow! Just look at the generous response from our most recent Amazon wish list. Thank you to all those who replenished items they really needed (natural hair care products, men's clothing, and towels). Make a difference today by sending items from our Amazon Wish List.

Brette Puhl, Community Outreach Manager, with all the Amazon orders you sent.
The Power of Partnerships
Leisa Fox, CEO
I have lived in Des Moines for almost 30 years and absolutely adore this city. The bike trails, the restaurants, the people – they all consistently amaze me.

Until I took my position at YESS, though, I had little contact with the non-profit community. If there is one thing that has surprised me in my short tenure it's the amount of generosity given by other agencies. I want to take a moment to thank them for all they’ve done to support us. Here is a summary of some of the powerful partnerships that have evolved just in the last month:

Melissa O’Neil and her team at Central Iowa Shelter and Services have partnered with us to provide meals, at no cost, for our kids. They are also providing janitorial services through their job-training program. The circle of empowerment created by their clients serving our clients is great for everyone involved.

Chris Koepplin at Youth Homes of Mid-America was quick to step in when I needed someone to train our staff on our de-escalation model. She and her team are partnering closely with us the next few months to model and work with our staff. The collaboration between our agencies will be so beneficial to our kids.

Liz Cox and her team at Polk County Health Services recently stepped in with funds to improve our facility, and provide training as we mitigate COVID-19.

Sheri McMichael and her team at Variety – A Children’s Charity, alongside Margo and Don Blumenthal have invested funds to help create a more compassionate physical space.

The list goes on and on. . . Thanks to them and all of our partners for making the work we do possible. I am humbled by their willingness to serve.