Get to Know Helping Services Staff!

Through these in-depth series of videos, we are able to go into more detail so you can better understand what we do and how we work with your community.

DIRECTOR OF HELPING SERVICES.  Ben Krouse-Gagne begins his video series “Getting to Know Us” by interviewing Carson Eggland, the Executive Director of Helping Services for Youth & Families. In this candid interview, Carson talks about his background and passion for nonprofits.

 DIRECTOR OF DV RESOURCE CENTER.  In this interview, the Director of the Resource Center, Kathleen Davis, talks about her start with Helping Services as a legal advocate, the struggles serving a rural area in northeast Iowa, and the services they provide to clients of domestic abuse. Over the last year, advocates have assisted 294 clients and answered 1, 160 crisis calls. 

DIRECTOR OF FAMILY EDUCATION & SUPPORT. Barb Fjelstul, Director of Family Education & Support for Helping Services, gives an overview of the program. Family Educators provide in-home visits to parents of children birth to 3 years old in northeast Iowa. Staff provide information and offer guidance. Barb emphasizes how mis-information in the public and the Internet confuses parents. Family Educators provide best practice information for each stage of development through activiites, developmental assessments, and offer referrals for any medical or other concerns. Each Family Educator is very experienced; participants value the support and encouragement they receive. Barb explains the contact process, connecting with parents, and program detail

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT.  As Director of Community Engagement, Ben Krouse-Gagne talks to people and makes connections.  He reaches out to community members and businesses that want to make a difference in their community.  Another important role that Ben takes part in is organizing the popular Holiday Lights event in Decorah, Iowa.  Ben talks about the details for making this event run smoothly and the importance of the event to Helping Services.  Ben enjoys connecting with people and finding out what their passions are and what is important to them to make their donations matter. 

VICTIM ADVOCATE. Terrishane is a Domestic Violence Advocate passionate about helping people.  Terri stresses that an advocate’s job is to support the survivor and help them navigate the system. Terri discusses how COVID pandemic has affected services and her concern for clients during the pandemic.   Terri serves Bremer and southern Fayette County in Iowa. 

VICTIM ADVOCATE AND TRANSITIONAL HOUSING COORDINATOR.  Peggy is the Clayton and northern Fayette county Domestic Violence Advocate.  Advocates work with victims of domestic violence and help them find ways to stay safe and obtain crisis counseling, medical, financial, and legal services.  Peggy also serves as the Transitional Housing Coordinator, covering all counties in northeast Iowa where HS provides services.  The Transitional Housing Program helps survivors get on their feet and find independence and self-reliance.  Peggy explains the special considerations when working with survivors of domestic violence.

MENTORING COORDINATOR, HOWARD, ALLAMAKEE, WINNESHIEK COUNTY. Colinne, a Mentoring Coordinator in Howard, Allamakee, Winneshiek counties in Iowa talks about youth mentoring. Colinne started with Helping Services as part of her college practicum, then as an Americorps worker under IDPH, and now as a mentoring coordinator of Iowa Mentoring Sponsorships. Colinne advises “Don’t overthink [mentoring], you’ll get as much out of it as the youth does!”

MENTORING COORDINATOR, HOWARD, ALLAMAKEE, WINNESHIEK COUNTY.  Kathy, a veteran Mentoring Coordinator at Helping Services, talks about her start in mentoring programs, and the care that Helping Services For Youth & Families took to develop their youth mentoring programs. Kathy’s years of experience spans as a director of a daycare, coordinating Childcare Information and Referral Services for HS, Substance Abuse Prevention, and as a Mentoring Coordinator for Howard, Allamakee, and Winneshiek Counties in northeast Iowa.

PREVENTION COORDINATOR. Jen Kimber, Prevention Coordinator, serves five counties in northeast Iowa. Jen promotes substance use prevention education through IDPH and now problem gambling. Jen brings her experience as a combat medic in Afghanistan, crossing over into prevention work. Jen is passionate that Prevention works by connecting people to resources and helping them with better choices. Prevention makes our communities healthier and better places to live.

TOBACCO PREVENTION SPECIALIST.  Ashley Havenstrite talks about her work as a Tobacco Prevention Specialist. Ashley works in the community to provide tobacco education as well as working with local coalitions promoting positive change. In addition, Ashley helps businesses create tobacco policies for the workplace. She stresses that she is here to help employers help their employees with tobacco addictions.  Ashley also provides resources for any individuals struggling to quit tobacco.

VICTIM ADVOCATE. Kristi, Victim Advocate for Helping Services For Youth & Families, talks about helping clients of domestic abuse during the COVID-19 health crisis. The advocates found that they had to provide services differently, and learned that they had to adapt. As a result, the Resource Center added chat to the website. Kristi stresses that advocates offer support and options; action steps and decisions always belong to the client.

PROJECT COORDINATOR, COALITIONS.  Jen Stolka has years of experience working in northeast Iowa with community coalitions. Employed under the Drug-Free Communities Federal Grant, Jen unites with the Delaware County Drug Abuse Coalition to focus energy on alcohol, methamphetamine, and marijuana misuse. She shares that even though prevention work is a slow process, change is for the better and people really do care about what happens in their county. To learn more, visit or

TEEN DATIING VIOLENCE ADVOCATE; VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR.  Brittany assists volunteers to become certified so they can work directly or indirectly with clients in the domestic abuse program.  Volunteering can be as little or involved as a volunteer wants – answering the Resource Center line, transporting clients to appointments, or taking care of donations, and more.  Brittany typically works with high school and college-age students who are in violent relationships or live in violent homes.  In addition to assisting clients, Brittany educates youth about domestic violence in the area high schools.