A Christ-centered home & programs for young moms who are facing unplanned pregnancies or parenting young children.

Ruth Harbor Staff

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Executive Director

Mark became Ruth Harbor’s second Executive Director in 2002. Prior to Ruth Harbor, Mark managed the non-profit GuideOne Foundation. His varied background also includes athletic director, instructor, and marketing communications. Mark’s BA is from Cedarville University. Mark and his wife, Deb, have three grown children and five grandchildren. He loves to invest in others in order to see them grow and enjoys his role on a recreational soccer team.

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Program Director

Leanna joined the Ruth Harbor team in 2017 as Program Director. This role’s focus is on recruitment of both client and staff, processing client intakes and admission, oversight of all direct services, staff development and expansion of programming, and oversight of social services. Leanna had known about Ruth Harbor for 15 years and was drawn here because it would enable her to use her professional talents and connect with the residents at a heart-level. She also knew Ruth Harbor was a ministry with great meaning that she could serve in. Leanna and her husband, David, have 3 children: Dawson, Daniel and Lillie.  As a family, they attend church at Soteria Des Moines. In her free time, Leanna enjoys spending time with her family, investing in her church, traveling, being outdoors, playing the piano, painting and redesigning.

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Office Manager

Aimee joined Ruth Harbor as the Office Manager in January 2018.  In this role she oversees the front-office operations, supports the Executive Director and staff team, manages fundraising events and develops/oversees Ruth Harbor's volunteer program. Aimee and her husband, Derek, have three children that keep them busy with their athletic, musical and academic pursuits. Although there isn't a lot of time for hobbies during this busy season of life, when possible, she enjoys baking, reading and crafting.

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Financial & Database Coordinator

Since 2005 Sandy has coordinated Ruth Harbor’s events such as the annual Walk for Life and the Fall Fundraising Banquet in addition to managing the office responsibilities and overseeing the budget throughout the year. Prior to Ruth Harbor, Sandy’s varied resume of experiences include account billing at a private school, church secretary, and school board member and volunteer while her children were young. Sandy and her husband, Phil, have two grown children and two grandchildren.

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Cara & Shawn
House Parents

Cara and Shawn have served as a full-time House Parents in our maternity home since 2017. As the "house dad and mom," they live in the home and are responsible for modeling a Christian family, serving as a father- and mother-figure to the residents and overseeing all of the day-to-day operations and "life" that happens in the house and in the lives of the residents. Together they serve as the leaders of the Ruth Harbor home. Shawn and Cara have three daughters, Danielle (who is married to husband, Derrick), Madeline and Alyssa. In Shawn’s spare time, he is a handyman who enjoys woodworking, collecting coins and selling items on Ebay.  Cara enjoys anything craft-related, making jewelry and crocheting.

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Melanie & Gary
House Parents

Melanie and Gary are the House Parents for Ruth Harbor's mother-child home in Carlisle, Iowa, which will open this fall. As we prepare for the house to open, Melanie & Gary are training, helping coordinate the renovations taking place at the home, and are assisting with finalizing programming for the new moms and children who will be entering the home this fall. Gary served as a pastor for 29 years before he and Melanie decided to use their gifts to serve a new community in a new way, which brought them to Ruth Harbor. They have four married daughters and nine grandchildren. They enjoy spending time with their family, including a growing number of concerts, recitals and ballgames!

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Michele is passionate about helping young women realize their self-worth by walking alongside them as they find the courage to make desired changes in their lives and reach their full God-given potential. She is a Christian counselor and Des Moines native who earned her Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University (Lynchburg, VA). She is currently licensed by the state of Iowa to provide mental health counseling and she is certified as an alcohol and drug counselor. Michele and her husband, Ronny, are entering a new stage of life as their three children have grown.

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J.A. came to Ruth Harbor in 2018 after 30 years of missionary service. J.A. is developing community partnerships, retreats for staff and clients, and ministry outreach projects. J.A. also assists the director with handling key projects and speaking opportunities, and developing relationships with churches.  "I love working with the staff of Ruth Harbor! Their love for Christ and young people is infectious," said J.A. He and his wife, Pam, recently retired from their 30-year service as BBFI missionaries to Wales in the United Kingdom. They moved to Des Moines to be close to their son and his family. J.A. and Pam are the proud grandparents of four grandchildren in Wales and three grandchildren in Des Moines.  When time allows, J.A. enjoys hunting, catching catfish, golfing and of course Skyping with his grand kids in Wales. 

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House Parent Assistant

Alyssa was hired as Ruth Harbor's House Parent Assistant in May 2018. As the Assistant, Alyssa partners with the House Parents to provide consistent coverage in all areas of the home and provides relief when the House Parents are off-duty. When asked about her favorite part of the job, Alyssa responded, "Getting to know the young women who come to Ruth Harbor and watching them grow during their time in the home." In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys reading -- in fact, she can typically been seen working through several different books at the same time! 
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A Christ-centered home & programs for young moms who are facing unplanned pregnancies or parenting young children.

Ruth Harbor
534 42nd Street
Des Moines, IA 50312
Phone: 515-279-4661
Fax: 515-633-2157
M-F 8:30 AM-5 PM