Young Women\u0027s Resource Center

Empowering a life of possibilities

aka YWRC   |   Des Moines, IA   |


The Mission of the Young Women\u0027s Resource Center is to empower participants to be strong, self-confident and resilient.\n\u00A0\nOur Vision is for the youth of our community to grow to their full potential and realize the life of possibilities they deserve.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Kari Zimmerman

Main address

818 5th Avenue

Des Moines, IA 50309 USA

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NTEE code info

Children\u0027s and Youth Services (P30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Family Services (Adolescent Parents) (P45)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Life for young women today is increasingly difficult. No matter what their background, we see girls struggling with self-esteem, body image, harassment, bullying, and mental health. These near universal challenges become significantly more complex with the intersecting issues of poverty and childhood trauma. Currently, over 70% of YWRC clients live at or below the poverty level. Results of the YWRC Youth Experiences Survey (YES) have also demonstrated high rates of trauma among clients served. \n\nPregnant and parenting teen mothers face compounding challenges. Persistently, 100% of YWRC Young Moms clients have lived at or below the poverty level with over a third of clients reporting experience with abuse, assault, homelessness and/or hunger. Young moms also face barriers to escape cycles of poverty and trauma due to lack of education - with only 38% of young moms graduating on time.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Empowerment Program

Empowerment Program - small peer groups that help to improve participants’ self-esteem, build resiliency, and learn reproductive health education. Participation is free of charge and open to anyone in 5th – 12th grade who has been socialized and/or identify as female. Goals include:

Increasing Resiliency Factors
Promoting positive self-esteem and healthy relationships
Developing leadership skills
Fostering effective and healthy problem solving skills
Advancing our agenda of creativity, adaptability, health and wellness

Services Provided

• Empowerment Groups: Six week groups hosted in elementary and middle schools
• After School Groups: Weekly 5th – 12th grade groups
• Specialized After School Groups: Black Girl Magic and Mariposa(Latina/x)
• Summer Empowerment Program: Week long summer day camps that serve girls entering middle school through high school
• Special Client Events:
o Empowerment Workshop: Two days of empowering group activities
o Back to School Bash

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Ethnic and racial groups
Economically disadvantaged people

The Young Moms Program provides gender specific services to pregnant and parenting young women ages 13-24. Goals Include:

Pursuit of economic self-sufficiency
High school graduation or equivalency
Comprehending the advantages of waiting until adulthood to have additional children
Understanding the developmental needs of their children and gaining positive parenting skills
Eliminating low birth weight and premature birth

Services Provided

Young Moms staff conduct groups designed to provide peer support and parenting education to young moms
Childbirth Education classes for pregnant young women are provided in schools and community organizations
Individual Support provides one-on-one services to young moms to meet basic needs, continue education, and obtain employment as well as referrals to other community resources
Certified staff conduct a car seat education and distribution program
Trained doulas provide comprehensive health and support services to pregnant young women

Population(s) Served

YWRC Counseling and Therapeutic Program utilizes evidence-based interventions that address stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions that youth and young adults are experiencing at high rates. On average, this program serves 120 girls and young women, ages 10-24, each year. This includes cisgender girls, cisgender women, transgender persons and non-binary individuals. Program components focus on increasing every client’s sense of safety, trust, connection, and overall well-being. Services are confidential, voluntary, and offered free of charge with no insurance needed.

1. Art counseling: Small group and individual art counseling teach abstract concepts, illustrate coping skills, and help survivors of harm access unconscious and repressed emotions related to traumatic events.
2. Individual therapy: Evidenced-based modalities (motivational interviewing, solution focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and Trust-Based Relational Intervention)

Population(s) Served

Expect Respect is a nationally-recognized, school-based program designed to support youth who have been exposed to and/or experienced violence or abuse in their homes, schools, or communities. The goal is to increase knowledge and skills regarding abuse and harassment while increasing resiliency through building a strong social network and increasing confidence and sense of purpose. This program serves girls and young women in 5th – 12th grade in Central Iowa to. This includes cisgender girls, cisgender women, transgender persons and non-binary individuals.
1. Middle and High School Peer Support Groups: Increase participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors relating to healthy peer and dating relationships
2. Elementary School Peer Support Groups: Increase participants’ resiliency and their knowledge about forms of violence
3. Youth Leadership Training: Prevent violence and abuse through leadership training

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups
Women and girls
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups
Women and girls
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups
Women and girls
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

All of YWRC programming is designed for and provided to benefit girls and young women ages 10-21 in the Greater Des Moines area. Individual and small groups are provided through three primary programs: Empowerment, Young Moms and Therapy. All evidence based curriculum utilized are designed to target adolescent females. Empowerment, Young Moms and Therapy groups all incorporate lessons around reproductive health, feminism, sexism and gender stereotypes, healthy relationships, body image and the importance of supportive sisterhood. Collectively, the YWRC serves over 1,500 girls and young women annually.\n\nThe YWRC cannot erase the social pressures or history of trauma that impacts participating girls and young women, but it is their ability to cope and bounce back from those experiences that determines their long term health and success. By specifically focusing on four pillars of resiliency the YWRC provides participants with the ability to build healthy relationships, make healthy decisions, develop a firm confidence in who they are as individuals, and overcome whatever ongoing obstacles they face. \n\nAll of YWRC programs specifically support mental, physical and behavioral well-being through curriculum developed and tracked to measure and improve client resiliency. The four pillars of resiliency YWRC focus on include: \nConnections \u0026 Strong Social Network: Having secure attachment to caregivers or supportive adults on a regular basis, as well as positive and healthy relationships with peers and siblings. \nConfidence \u0026 Self-esteem: Maintaining belief in personal abilities, self-acceptance and sense of identity. Additionally, challenging self-critical behaviors and re-framing negative experiences. \nCompetence \u0026 Sense of Purpose: Mastery of skill, self-discovery and pursuit of opportunities to get involved in the community in meaningful ways. \nCoping \u0026 Self-Control: Developing problem solving and decision making skills, setting goals, managing emotions, and managing impulsive reactions to emotions. \n\nPerformance goals for the next year include: \n50% of participants demonstrate improvement in their sense of connections and ability to build a strong network. \n50% of participants demonstrate improvement in confidence and self-esteem. \n50% of participants demonstrate an improved sense of competence and purpose. \n50% of participants report feeling improved ability to cope with difficult situations and practice self-control. \n60% of participants increase their overall score across all four categories.\n85% of participants demonstrate improvement in at least one of the four resiliency components.\n75% of eligible Young Moms participants graduate High School.

The YWRC offers all Empowerment and Young Moms programs for free, with transportation provided to and from on-site programs. All programs are gender specific, culturally responsive and trauma informed. Every effort is made to create a safe, non-judgmental environment where clients can build trust with facilitators and healthy relationships with their peers. \n\nThe Empowerment Program utilizes the research based Girls Circle curriculum which is designed for girls ages 9-18 and is based on relational theory, resiliency practices and skills training in a gender specific format to increase participants\u2019 positive connections, competence and personal and collective strengths. Previous studies have revealed statistically significant improvement for participants in Girls Circle programs, including: an increase in self-efficacy, a decrease in self-harming behavior, a decrease in rates of alcohol use, an increase in attachment to school, increases in positive body image and increases in social support. \n\nPrograms include: \nEmpowerment Groups: six week segments within over 40 local elementary and middle schools \nAfter School Groups: year-round programming available to clients in 5th grade through high school \nConnections: small group for juvenile justice referred clients focused on impulse control and anger management\nLotus Group: art therapy small group focused on serving clients who have experienced assault or abuse\nMariposa: small group developing young Latina women as leaders, celebrating heritage and challenging racism\nBlack Girl Magic: small group developing young Black women as leaders, celebrating heritage and challenging racism\n\nThe Young Moms Program relies on a combination of research-based curricula, including: International Childbirth Education (ICEA) curriculum and Love Notes. The ICEA curriculum contains elements specifically focused on achieving healthy pregnancies, supporting the mental health of the mother and encouraging nurturing parenting skills with an emphasis on attachment and parental resilience. Love Notes is an evidence based approach that integrates relationship skills with repeat pregnancy prevention and workforce readiness. \n\nPrograms include:\nBetter Beginnings Doula Program: individual support with a personal doula that helps young moms advocate for themselves, assists in prenatal visits, attends the birth, and follows up during the post-partum period. \nPregnancy and Childbirth Education and Support Group: small group to help clients understand what to expect during pregnancy, assist in communication with health providers, and address common challenges \nYoung Moms Parenting and Life Skills Group: small group focused on developing positive parenting skills and life skills with peer support\nIndividual Support Program: individual support to address clients\u2019 unique needs and to achieve personal goals

The Young Women\u0027s Resource Center (YWRC) has worked to provide critical programming for girls and young women in the Greater Des Moines area since 1978. Over the past 42 years, the YWRC has developed gender and age specific curriculum that address the most common and pressing challenges facing young women in our community. \n\nOver the years the YWRC has been grateful to develop close community partnerships that allow the organization to effectively reach as many clients as possible. In particular, by partnering with the Des Moines Public School District the YWRC is able to reduce barriers to participation by providing Empowerment programming in 38 schools and Young Moms programming in 7 local schools. \n\nOn site, the YWRC also offers small after school groups and therapy. Empowerment Program works with 4 full time and 1 part time Empowerment Specialists and two Counselors, and the Young Moms Program works with 3 full time and 1 part time Young Moms Specialists. \n\nThe YWRC maintains a budget of over $1 million annually, with 1/3 of funding from United Way of Central Iowa, 1/3 from corporate and foundation grants, and 1/3 from individual donors.

Since 1978, the YWRC has served over 30,000 girls and young women in the Greater Des Moines area. Through Empowerment, Young Moms and Therapy - the YWRC now offers 17 unique programs aims at providing support that tailors to each clients needs. \n\nResults from the Resiliency Survey in 2018 show the following outcomes for clients: \n* Overall improvement in resiliency: 48%\n* Improved in at least one resiliency category: 74%\n* Improved in Connections and Strong Social Networks: 39%\n* Improved in Confidence and Self-Esteem: 35%\n* Improvement in Competence and Sense of Purpose: 40%\n* Improvement in Coping and Self-Control: 44%

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The YWRC utilizes support, education and advocacy to provide free individual and small group programming to girls and young women ages 10-24 in the Greater Des Moines area. This includes cisgender girls, cisgender women, transgender persons and non-binary individuals.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    A number of YWRC participants identify as non-binary or transgender. While the YWRC is inherently gendered, communication with participants who did not identify as \u201Cgirls or young women\u201D made it clear there was a need to update both organizational language and guidelines for how facilitators communicate during groups to be more inclusive and help all participants feel safe and welcome. \n\nThe first step was the creation of guidelines and orientation training to help facilitators learn to be more considerate of pronouns and adjust the way lessons around reproductive health, relationships, and gender stereotypes are led. Next, the YWRC staff, leadership and Board conducted a review of the organizational mission, vision, values and \u201Cwho we serve\u201D statements.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,


Young Women\u0027s Resource Center

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Young Women\u0027s Resource Center

Board of directors
as of 03/01/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Kelsey Knowles

Belin McCormick Law firm

Term: 2021 - 2024

Board co-chair

Ka'Meka Lowery

Dotdash Meredith Corporation

Term: 2021 - 2024

Heather McDermott


Maria Volante

Volante Consulting

Veronica White


Kathleen McGuire


Teri Ross

Sammons Financial Group

Laura Lockwood

Hartung Schroeder

Scott Valbert


Stephanie Dose

Banker's Trust

Randi Marsh


Marcy Kolontar

Krause Group

Abie Reiland

Jones Lang LaSalle Brokerage, Inc.

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/1/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/01/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.