About Us

Our Vision

Mother Theresa once wrote that she could not do great things; she could only do small things with great love.

Likewise, Serve Iowa isn't trying to do the BIG things; instead we seek to fill in the small gaps between what parents need to successfully and safely maintain their kids at home (i.e., prevent removal), and what DHS  can do. We do those small things with great love.

Our Story

As an attorney practicing in juvenile child welfare, founder Jean Baker saw many things that, for most people, would be a mere annoyance, or small obstacle. But for the families she worked with, these small obstacles sometimes turned into insurmountable barriers. They were beyond what DHS could, or were permitted to do. So she created Serve Iowa to step in and help.

The other key part of Serve Iowa is to create a way for kids who are DHS involved to participate in extra-curricular activities. It's a little slice of normal in an otherwise not normal situation.

Meet the Team

Our board is made up of people who are passionate about families! From former DHS workers to educators, attorneys, and people who just plain have a heart for it—these are people working to make a difference every day.

Jean headshot – Version 2

Jean M. Baker, J.D.

Founder & Interim Director

Jean Baker is an attorney practicing in juvenile child welfare court. She has previously practiced in both family law and plaintiff’s employment law.

She has an undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa, and her law degree is from Drake University Law School. She is a life-long resident of Des Moines.

Ms. Baker is the founder of Serve Iowa, and serves on the Polk County Trauma Audit team. She has served as a mock trial coach at the high school level, and a mock trial judge at the collegiate level, and served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA coach. She has served as an accompanist for a variety of children's and youth choirs, as well as community and church boards.



Pam Spangler


Pam Spangler has over 30 years of experience as an educator. Currently, Ms. Spangler is a School Improvement Consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. She specializes in the field of accreditation and school improvement. She is responsible for the north central and northwestern school districts in Iowa.

Ms. Spangler has a B.A. in Elementary Education (emphasis in Early Childhood Education)from Simpson College. She taught in Pleasantville, Iowa, and then was a teacher in the Des Moines Public Schools for 25 years, primarily teaching 1stand 2ndgrade.

In 2009, Ms. Spangler earned her M.S. degree from Walden University, specializing in Reading and Literacy. With that degree, she served as a Reading First coach and a Literacy coach, again within the Des Moines. Public Schools.

She puts her knitting skills to good use,  knitting blankets for kittens in shelter. She also helps raise funds for Happy Tails Ranch and Rescueand does daily small acts of kindness for friends and family.

Heather Bash


Next Steps...

There are lots of ways to get involved, whether you want to give time, talent, or treasure.

Currently, we are looking for board members who can help us with social media/marketing, as well as someone who has experience writing local grants and other fundraising experience.

Want to donate? You can do that on our Facebook page! Click the "Donate Now" button and it will take you there directly (and we'd love it if you "liked" our page and followed us while you were there!).

Welcome to the team!