Meet Our Team

Ben Brustkern- Executive Director

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Ben graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Political Science.  He started with CVFF in October 2002 as a transitional housing caseworker. Ben continued to ascend within the agency as he was moved into the housing/outreach coordinator before becoming the Client Services Director in 2007. In May 2011, Ben became the Executive Director. Ben is married to Kim, with three children Tyler,  Gabby, and Carter. He enjoys Cubs baseball, UNI Panther athletics, and coaching youth sports.


Kelley Schmitz - Director of Operations kelley sitting

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Kelley joined the agency in August 2013 as the Crisis Services Director with 13 years of experience in human services. She holds a Bachelors of Psychology from Drake University and a Masters of Psychology from Northcentral University, and enjoys new training and learning opportunities. Kelley lives in Cedar Falls with her husband, Jason, their daughter, Hadley, and their son, Grant.  She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and listening to music.


Mechille BoldtFiscal Director

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Mechille joined the agency in May 2016 as the fiscal director with 20 years of experience in accounting and finance.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting from Upper Iowa University and she is passionate about finding new learning and growth opportunities.  Mechille lives in Waverly and enjoys biking, kayaking, reading and music.  She also enjoys spending time with friends in laughter whenever possible.


Derek Stephens - Director of Development

Office: 319-234-0232 Ext #206 0r Cell: 319-239-9164derek headshot

Derek joined Cedar Valley Friends of the Family in August 2015 as the Volunteer Manager, and transitioned to the Director of Development In April 2016. On top of three years of nonprofit fund development, Derek holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Ashford University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Wartburg College. Derek lives in Cedar Rapids, IA. Outside of work, Derek coaches collegiate Track & Field and enjoys relaxing with family and friends.


Michelle Hall - Volunteer Manager

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Kosette Brown- AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer


Melissa Newstrom – Administrative AssistantMelissa_3

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Melissa joined the agency in August 2015 as the Administrative Assistant with 15 years of experience in administrative work. She majored in Business Administration at Kirkwood Community College.  Melissa lives in Cedar Falls with her husband, Patrick, and their son Amit. In her free time she love spending time with her family, going to Dave Matthews Band concerts and doing photography. 


Casey ReintsGrants and Communications Coordinator

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Casey joined the agency in June 2011 as the Crisis Services Director, and transferred to the Grant and Development Director in August 2013. Casey now serves as the Grants & Communications Coordinator.  She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work in May of 2011 from the University of Northern Iowa. Casey lives in Shell Rock with her husband Clay and their daughter Adelaide.


Programs & Services

Shelter Services

Heather Clark – Shelter Services Manager

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Heather began her journey at CVFF in May 2011 as an intern working in our Friend’s House shelter. Shortly after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa, Heather was hired full-time as CVFF’s Shelter Coordinator in September of 2011. In October 2015, Heather transitioned in her current role as Shelter Services Manager overseeing sheltering operations throughout CVFF’s 14 county service area. Heather lives in Waterloo with her fiancé Craig and their son Cale.


Makaila - Child Advocate (Main Office, Bremer County)

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Vacant position – Shelter Advocate ( Main Office, Bremer County)

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Morgan - Diversity Advocate (Main Office, Bremer County)

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Outreach and Rapid Rehousing/Homeless Prevention Services

Carrie DiesburgOutreach Services Manager

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Carrie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Northern Iowa. Go Panthers! Carrie started with the agency in February 2014 as the Housing Resource Specialist assisting with overseeing the Emergency Solutions Grant. From there, she transitioned into our Outreach Services Manager position in January 2016 where she now oversees the rapid rehousing programs in our 14 county region. She is a board member of the United Way of Winneshiek County, and a Waterloo Human Rights Commissioner. Carrie, her husband Scott, and their son Deklyn live in Marion, Iowa. Outside of work, Carrie and her family enjoy being at home spending time together, hanging out with friends, and cooking delicious food!!


Rosie - Housing Resource Specialist (Waterloo Office)

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Karlee - Housing Support Specialist (Waterloo Office)

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Kristine – Housing Support Specialist (Cedar Rapids Office)

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Connor - Housing Support Specialist (Cedar Rapids Office)

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Ryan - Housing Support Specialist (Dubuque)

319-352-1108 Ext #400 or Cell: 563-590-0537


Karen - Transition Specialist (Waterloo office)

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Homeless Services

Leah ChurchillHousing Services Manager

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Turning Point Rural Housing Project:

Larissa -Housing Support Specialist

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Lizzie -  Housing Support Specialist

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Northeast Iowa Permanent Housing Program:

Sarah - Housing Support Specialist

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Peggy - Housing Support Specialist

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Rapid Housing Initiative:

GennaHousing Support Specialist

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 Anti-Human Trafficking Services

Jonathan ChambersAnti-Human Trafficking Manager


319-826-2075 Ext #301 or Cell: 319-560-5007

Jonathan begin his time at Cedar Valley Friends as a Housing Support Specialist in Cedar Rapids, then moved into the Anti-Human Trafficking Manger position. He has a Bachelors in Public Administration with a minor in Sociology. Jonathan also served over eight years in the U.S. Army with two tours in Iraq. Jonathan lives in Cedar Rapids with his wife and two children. Jonathan has a passion for human rights issues and in his free time likes to spend time with his family.


Kenesha - Anti-Human Trafficking Specialist (Waterloo office)


Karolina - Anti-Human Trafficking Specialist (Dubuque Office)



Mariana – Anti-Human Trafficking Specialist (Decorah Office)



 Violence Prevention Services

Nicole Brennan – Prevention Education Coordinator

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