Archive for the 'Staff' Category



Bernie’s a Grandpa!

Bernie Van Roekel’s (our executive director) daughter Dana gave birth to a healthy baby boy last night! Congratulations! This is his first grandchild. If you would like to e-mail him, he can be reached at berniev@serveouryouth.org.

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SOY at the Statehouse

Bernie, Mary and Shane had the opportunity to have a display during the volunteer fair at the Iowa Statehouse today. They had a chance to visit with a number of people. It was a great chance to gain some exposure for SOY.

Some of the visitors included: Representative Libby Jacobs (R – West Des Moines), a staff person from U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R – IA) Des Moines office, Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven (R- Pella), Senator Brad Zaun (R – Urbandale), Senator Jerry Behn (R – Boone), Sophia Magill – the Volunteer Liason with Governor Chet Culver’s office, Representative Carmine Boal (R – Ankeny), Representative Walt Tomenga (R – Johnston), and Representative Ako Abdul-Samad (D – Des Moines).

Bernie & Shane in front of our display.

Mary & Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven (R – Pella)

Mary & Senator Brad Zaun (R – Urbandale)

Shane & Senator Jerry Behn (R – Boone)

Mary & Representative Carmine Boal (R – Ankeny)

Next Level Conference – Day Two

By Shane Vander Hart 

Day two at the Next Level Conference at Valley Church. It has been a slower day today. I listened to Phil Calloway speak, and then hung out with a group of youth pastors this morning and on into lunch at Fuddruckers – yum.

I wanted to include a picture of our display. Pretty exciting I know (the picture reminds me of my elementary school science fair). You may be wondering about the quilts – we have people who make quilts for the kids at the shelter and we like showcasing them. I just wish I had one that was long enough to cover the entire table. The dish contains candy in order to entice people to come over – doesn’t work so well right after lunch. Also I have been able to connect to Valley Church’s wireless network so I’ve had our website and blog up for people to read if they like (first time I’ve done that) – that also gives me the opportunity to write this post while still being at the conference. Anyway, good conference and good exposure for SOY. I missed it last year, so I am happy to be able to come back this year.

Going to the Next Level…

By Shane Vander Hart

 I’m at the first day of the Next Level Leadership Conference which is the annual conference of the Central District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. It is being hosted by Valley Church in West Des Mones. It has been great. I have a display up for Serve Our Youth Network and this gives us exposure to all of the Evangelical Free Churches in Iowa (and beyond). It has been good so far.

I’ve had quite a few people come by the display – some from Missouri, eastern Iowa, and spoke with a juvenile court officer from the 2nd Judicial District (North Central Iowa). Also have seen a good number of pastors from the Des Moines area. I love going to these conferences to network. So if you know of a conference like this in Iowa that SOY can go to, would you let me know? Thanks!

SOY Staff @ Work

 We’ve been asked before, with such a large staff (12 people – 4 full-time, 8 part-time) spread throughout Central Iowa, how do we stay connected? One way is through staff meetings that we have twice a month. The picture to your left is from our staff meeting this morning at Caribou Coffee on Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines. Seated around the table are (from left side going around): June Owens, Staci Fleener, Mary Tomlinson, Barb Shultz, Heather Comfort, Bernie Van Roekel, Grace Butler, and the person who holds it all together our fearless adminstrative assistant, Kathy Howey. Shane Vander Hart was taking the picture and I think Jeremy Stumbo was getting some coffee.

We usually meet once a month at Caribou, and once at a conference room at Polk County Youth Services. We also rely upon instant messaging, e-mail and the phone. We get it done though!

PCYS Employee of the Month

 We wanted to mention that Mary Tomlinson, our volunteer coordinator for our work at Polk County Youth Services and our children of prisoners mentoring program received an unusual honor. She was named the PCYS Employee of the Month for December. That is unusual because she isn’t a PCYS employee!

Scott Weldon, one of the team leaders at the Polk County Youth Services’ transitional shelter said when he nominated her: “Mary goes above and beyond to make the youth’s stay at Shelter the best possible. She is very thorough in seeing things through and is often here late to make sure the youth and volunteers are happy. She’s done a great job with Christmas gifts for the youth, volunteer groups, and thank you notes.”

This is a testament to the close working relationship that SOY has with PCYS. Congratulations Mary on this honor, and for being probably the first non-employee PCYS Employee of the Month!

KWKY Interview – 10/20/06

Rich Thomson (one of our mentors & Bible discussion group leaders) and I had the chance to be interviewed on KWKY 1150 AM on the Update Today Show with Tamara Scott. You can listen to the interview below if you didn’t have the chance to listen live.


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