Supporter Spotlight: Beth Mensing
Beth Mensing has been a key supporter of the YWRC for more than a decade, whether it’s through the sharing of new trainings, anatomically correct plush reproductive models or new teaching resources. Through her current work with Planned Parenthood of the North Central States, Beth ensures she is up-to-date on age appropriate, fact based reproductive health knowledge.
“I serve as Manager of Education for PPNCS. I have the opportunity to help mentor Health Educators, provide program development and direction, as well as build partnerships across the community to best respond to the needs of our youth, adults and families.”
Beth became involved with the YWRC even before her time with PPNCS.
“I’ve been connected with the YWRC for close to 15 years now. Previously, I worked for another organization that also provided after school programming for young women through the Chrysalis After School funding. I had the pleasure of working with several Empowerment Program Specialists through that work. My connection to YWRC was made stronger when I joined Planned Parenthood and both organizations worked together on a community grant. Now, with our offices so close, I pop down every now and then to connect programming opportunities with staff and enjoy the ‘bring your doggo to work’ days.”
As an educator, it’s no surprise that one of the areas of the YWRC that Beth is most passionate about is our ability to provide information in a safe, inclusive space.
“I’m really impressed with the YWRC’s direction toward Period Positivity and Sex Positivity that both the Empowerment Team and the Pregnant & Parenting Groups have taken. The strong messaging the staff has adopted over the last couple of years has really worked to break down the stigma around sexual and reproductive health – acknowledging the reality that young people have the right to be curious about and to learn about their bodies and accepting that some young people are going to be sexually active and we want them to have the tools they need to make the healthiest decisions possible.”
Beth is also a big proponent of collaborations throughout the community, and has helped connect many organizations throughout the year.
“Establishing collaborative efforts is so important for a number of reasons. Not only does it strengthen the community, but it also helps introduce someone to a new entity and a reliable resource when they need it. Recently, a group of high school age youth came from the YWRC for a tour of the Susan Knapp Health Clinic. They walked through what a visit to a family planning clinic might look like. They interacted with the CMAs, nurses and Nurse Practitioners. They even passed around a speculum to become more familiar with the instruments that may be involved with a pap and pelvic.
After this visit, I met them back at the YWRC for follow up questions. This collaboration provided them with another trusted adult, another resource in their community, and hopefully eased some of their minds when it comes time for them to schedule a visit to a clinic on their own. We can accomplish so much more together.”
Growing up, Beth’s grandmother served as a role model of strength and compassion.
“She set a precedent as a working mom, loving partner, and all-around wonderful human being. She cooked from scratch, laughed a lot, got into a little bit of trouble, and always said yes to ice cream. She was a nurse at Broadlawns for her entire career. Unfortunately, she died before I started working at Planned Parenthood. I know she would be very proud of me for the work that I have done here.”
Working with youth of all ages, Beth knows firsthand the struggles they often work to overcome. Her advice to them is:
“Perseverance and authenticity. One of the greatest things I learned from my parents is a sense of perseverance and determination. Once I knew I was going to do something, I wouldn’t stop until it was done. And if it didn’t go off as planned, learn from it and do it again until I got it right. I also think it is so important to be authentic. Be who YOU want to be, not who you think someone else thinks you should be.”
When Beth is not busy empowering youth of our community with knowledge, she can be found enjoying Des Moines’ bike trails, public art, Downtown Farmer’s Market and music festivals.
Three things you may not know about Beth:
- She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History
- She is a huge baseball fan
- She knows how to yodel
Thank you, Beth, for the YEARS of support and advocacy you’ve provided the girls and young women, and staff, of the YWRC. We are grateful for your collaborations, insight, knowledge, passion and warmth. Thank you!