The Beacon Center staff provides crisis support to help individuals and families in times of need. From fundraising to picking up victims in the midst of a crisis, everyone on our team has a special and important role at our center. If you’re interested in joining the team or would like to get in touch with a specific member from our staff, we look forward to hearing from you.
Dawn joined Beacon Center in December of 2011 as the Executive Director. Dawn earned her undergraduate Degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale majoring in Sociology. Dawn was a member of the United States Air Force for almost 9 years, where she worked as a Paralegal. Dawn continued her studies after her career in the United States Air Force and obtained her Masters of Science Degree in Continuing Education in Counseling and Psychology from the University of West Alabama. Dawn was hired to manage and oversee operational requirements of Beacon Center.
Hi everyone! My name is Maggie and I started working at the Beacon Center in May of 2016. Yep, I’m a dog and I work at the Beacon Center! I didn’t know much about domestic violence or sexual assault until I started and Angie my co-worker explained it. I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how. She told me scientists had done studies and showed that dogs help with stress and make people feel better. I didn’t know I could do something to help victims that had been hurt in the worst ways My job is to greet people, be myself and make them smile. People come in and I can tell they’re really sad, sometimes they even cry. I just sit quietly and let them pet me. I know it’s not much, but I think it helps. Lots of kids come to the Beacon Center and I love it! Some kids yell for me as soon as they get in the door. Some pull my ears so I stay away from them, but otherwise I love the pets and belly rubs. It’s not just kids that look for me but, adults too. They get down and rub my belly too. I hate to see people hurting so I give some of my love. People say I’ve brightened the place up and made it a happier. The best part of my day is when I can help someone feel better, just by doing what dogs do…love everyone! Beacon Center’s door is always open to those in need. Remember that we are here if you ever need someone to talk to, help with your situation – or just a little “Maggie” time.
Denise joined Beacon Center in December of 2011 as a part time advocate, providing services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In August of 2013, Denise took over the position of Direct Services Coordinator/Executive Administrator full time. In 2015, the two positions were separated and Denise continued as the Executive Administrator, performing accounting functions for Beacon Center. Denise attended the Watertown Business University and earned a certificate for the Private Secretarial Course. Denise has acquired knowledge in accounting through other various jobs. Denise enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, family and friends and is active in her church. Denise enjoys playing the piano, knitting and gardening in her spare time.
Rural Outreach Coordinator
Angie joined the Beacon Center team as the Rural Outreach Coordinator in December 2011. Angie earned her Master's Degree in Counseling and Human Development from South Dakota State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of South Dakota. Angie provides advocacy and outreach services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in Clark, Codington, Deuel, Grant and Hamlin counties. Angie also provides educational programs and collaborates with other community agencies to create a support network for victims and their families. Angie enjoys spending time with her husband, Lon, and their family and friends as well as spoiling their dogs.
Direct Services Coordinator
Oriel joined the Beacon Center in 2012 as a Client Services Assistant and became the Direct Services Coordinator in 2015 . Oriel earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Mount Marty College. Oriel graduated from the first class of the South Dakota Victim Assistance Academy. Oriel and her staff work with clients to aid them in becoming self-sufficient and to live their lives free from fear. Oriel enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with her husband Ryan, and their family and friends as well as spoiling their dog Basil.
Family Visitation Coordinator
Emily joined the Beacon Center team in October 2013 as the Family Visitation Coordinator. Emily earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education and Human Services from South Dakota State University. Emily advocates for children and their parents to be part of each other’s lives. Emily is currently a member of SD Chapter for the Supervised Visitation Network and Lake Area Child Protection Team both of which advocate for children’s safety and well-being. Emily enjoys the fall season, traveling, camping, and spending time with her family, friends. and pup Marlee.
Patty earned her Master’s from the Clinical Mental Health program from South Dakota State University at the Rapid City campus and a Bachelor’s degree from Northern State University in 2015. Patty began her career at the Beacon Center in October 2018 and has previously worked with a wide range of clients from youth to geriatric populations. At the Beacon Center, Patty provides group and individual counseling to our clients and enjoys working with clients with a wide variety of backgrounds.
Carrie is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Registered Play Therapist. She has been treating adults and children for 16 years. Carrie specializes in treating trauma: including sexual, emotional, physical and mental abuse and promotes healthy healing. She earned her BA and Master’s degree from South Dakota State University. Carrie holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Journalism. She also has a Master’s in Counseling, with an emphasis in Agency and School Counseling. Carrie received her Certificate of Play Therapy from MidAmerica Nazerene University, which has allowed her to become a Registered Play Therapist with the United States Association of Play Therapy. She has been a school counselor and worked for several mental health agencies including the Beacon Center. Carrie is the only Registered Play Therapist in the NE part of the state.
Direct Services Case Worker
Katherine joined the Beacon Center in September of 2015 in Client Services and then moved positions to the Family Visitation Center as a Family Visitation Monitor Specialist. In 2018, Katherine became the Direct Services Case Manager. Katherine is a member of the SD Chapter for the Supervised Visitation Network. Katherine enjoys spending time with her husband, family and friends, as well as traveling and seeing new places.
Family Visitation Monitor Specialist
Haley joined Beacon Center in 2017 as a Client Services Assistant. Haley moved positions to the Family Visitation Center as a Family Visitation Monitor Specialist in 2019. Haley earned her Associate's degree in Human Services Technician and Child Development from Lake Area Technical Institute. Haley is currently working on getting a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Mount Marty. Haley enjoys car shows, being outside, and spending time with friends and family; especially her niece Aria, boyfriend Manuel and two boys, Michael and Titan. Haley also enjoys spoiling their dog, Atiya and cat, Mums.
Ashley Vander Leest
Intensive Case Manager
Ashley joined the Beacon Center in June of 2017 as a Client Services Assistant. She is also trained in the Family Visitation Center as a Family Visitation Monitor Specialist. In 2019, Ashley accepted the position as an Intensive Case Manager, helping with Human Trafficking Victims. Ashley is currently working on getting her Bachelor degree in Human Services and Criminal Justice from Mount Marty College. Ashley enjoys spending time with friends, family, her pets, and especially her daughter, Charlyee. Ashley and her family are also expecting another baby in April 2020.
Fund Development Coordinator/Rural Outreach Assistant
Amber joined the Beacon Center in July 2019 as the Fund Development Coordinator & Rural Outreach Assistant. She started as a full-time summer intern and was hired on as staff after. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Child, Adult, and Family Services with an emphasis in Youth from Iowa State University. Amber organizes fundraising events, collaborates with donors, and assists with community outreach. She enjoys reading, being outdoors, and cheering on the I.S.U Cyclones sports teams.
Client Services Assistant
Client Services Assistant
After 32 years in the Day Care/ Preschool business, Debbie decided to retire in May of 2019. It didn’t take long to discover that retirement didn’t suit her, so she joined the staff of the Beacon Center in June. She has an Early Childhood Degree from DSU and a Landscape/Horticulture degree from Yankton College/ U of M. In her spare time, she enjoys quilting, visiting old friends and setting up her new home.
Client Services Assistant
Our Board of Directors
The Beacon Center board of directors are integral to the success of our organization. Our board has created a great network for gift giving, they assist with implementing strategic plans and support our work in the community. Serving as a member of our board can be both rewarding and challenging. If you are interested in joining our board please contact Dawn Sikkink.