East Village Spa
Des Moines, Iowa
t is hard for most of us to imagine the
predicament and anxiety of becoming homeless.
It can happen for many reasons, such as a couple
of bad financial decisions, substance addiction
and domestic abuse. The Beacon of Life homeless shelter in Des
Moines, Iowa, provides women from all walks of life with shelter,
security and a chance to rebuild lives.
For East Village Spa owner Cassie Sampson, the prospect of
helping to give women a second chance and rebuilding their selfesteem was inspiration enough to get involved. A casual
acquaintance with the home became something more serious
over time: “I had attended fundraisers for the shelter but I
realized that there was a need to foster self-esteem and educate
these women about the importance of caring for themselves.”
For many of these women, caring for themselves had become a
distant memory and an irrelevance.
Sampson, who also serves on her local YMCA board, has
used her work to support local communities since it opened its
doors in 2008. The annual “Spalloween” event, when all
proceeds from the spa on October 31st go to support an animal
rescue organization, set the tone for a business that prides itself
in giving back.
The formal support for Beacon of Life came about almost by
accident. East Village Spa (which has now grown from its
original 1,800-square-foot location with four staff into a 6,000square-foot spa with 15 staff) was changing resource partner for
its skin-care products and had a lot of leftover inventory.
“Instead of selling it in a clearance sale to our customers, we
immediately thought of the women at Beacon of Life,” says
Sampson. “We provided complimentary facials and six months’
worth of products so that the women could continue their
estheticians’ recommendations as they transition into new lives.”
East Village Spa’s work with the women of Beacon of Life
has been recognized by many local media outlets in Iowa. It
has also generated a very positive response among the spa’s
guests and, perhaps more importantly, in the self-esteem and
hope among the home’s residents. Supply drives and other
fundraising activities are planned to maintain the relationship
between East Village Spa and Beacon of Life—a relationship
that is providing women with transformation, renewed vigor
and, most importantly, hope.
TOP TIP: “Philanthropy is a great way to reach out to your community and build good will,
so any employee struggling to convince their spa manager or owner about a project needs
to stress that aspect. Owners need to be open to suggestions—an organization that staff
members care about deeply will create enthusiasm, team-building and pride for your