Amanda the Panda, the staff, clients and fellow volunteer's are second to none. We feel that we are part of the organization. True friendships and bonds have been made with everyone we've had the opportunity to serve or volunteer with. When we volunteer with Amanda the Panda we always feel that in someway shape or form we are making a difference. This organization is very well run with only a staff of 3. Every time we volunteer we never feel frustrated or that our time wasn't used to wisely. It is not uncommon to be greeted with a hug. The best feeling is to be recognized and given a hug by a client that recognizes you away from Amanda the Panda
I have enjoyed all the time that I have spent with Amanda the Panda. I went into my volunteer experience wanting to help others who have had a death in their family because I knew the impact that death had on the lives of others. During the time I spent with Amanda the Panda I began to open up and share my own story and feelings about the death of my loved one. The death of my loved one was not something I had every talked about, and at first I didn't talk about it. I learned through the various activities that I had participated in that my experience allowed others to be open and honest about how they felt as well. During one activity there was a child that did not want to share about their emotions during the loss of their loved ones, and when I shared that I was angry at the time that child was able to open up. The remaining sessions we spent together the child was more open and willing to share. The friendships you make with the staff, volunteers, and families impacted by Amanda the Panda are amazing. The staff at Amanda the Panda go above and beyond every day to make all the people they meet feel welcomed and special.
Once you truly understand the purpose of Amanda the Panda you will ask yourself. "Why hadn't I been involved sooner?" I know this because I have heard numerous volunteers say it and I had thought the same. After being involved with support groups and weekend camps, I saw up close and personal what the power of grief counseling can do for those who suffer with the loss of a loved one. The toll that death takes on everyone is different, but resources offered by Amanda the Panda can have life changing affects in individuals and their families. If you or a someone close to you has loss someone recently please check out, http://www.amandathepanda.org.
About three years ago a friend, who used Amanda the Panda's (ATP) services when she was a child, knew of my experience volunteering for a summer camp for chronically ill children and said I should get involved with ATP. I have since had the opportunity to participate and support numerous events and engage families who have experienced the death of someone close to them. Our services are designed to support the needs of everyone in the family/household (like we say, we are here for those from ages 6-96) and provides hope and healing for those most impacted by the loss.
I have enjoyed every aspect of my volunteer experience and continually gain motivation from the amazing volunteers/staff to the family members we serve. My experiences range from helping with the remodeling of the office, to wrapping and delivering Cheer Boxes during the holiday, to serving as a Camp Amanda counselor. The power of our mission excites me daily and I know that with the right people, right motivation and right resources we can/will achieve great things and continue to provide amazing services to support hundreds of families who are going through a healing process. We are thankful for all our supporters, donors and volunteers, and hope you will check out our web-site to find out more about what we do in the community.
Review from Guidestar
I have worked with Amanda Cares for over twelve years and am a financial contributor to the organization also. The prior Executive Director (and founder) had a huge passion for what she did, running Amanda the Panda for approximately 25 years. The current Executive Director (Charlie) has as much passion as the prior. Charlie is a cheerful and bubbly person who listens and is compassionate for the families who have lost a loved one. The other staff are exciting individuals with a simlar passion for what they do also. Death is one of the hardest things for people to live with and knowing others are grieving and listening helps the individuals work through the loss. They realize their feelings are not abnormal. Amanda the Panda assists with allowing the families to grieve openly, knowing there will not be any ridicule, and support groups allow the families to talk and live their life, sharing their experiences. Each person grieves their own way and Amanda the Panda helps them with the process.
Amanda the Panda helps grieving children communicate their feelings and gain an understanding of the grieving process, empowering them with a sense of hope and healing. All of Amanda the Panda's services are provided at no cost to the families. When bereavement support is available, grieving children are 20 times less likely to develop behavior disorders, 10 times less likely to develop substance abuse issues, and 5 times less likely to commit suicide. This vital grief support makes a lasting and life altering positive impact on the children and families of Iowa, allowing more children to return to the mainstream of their lives with the coping tools they need.
Amanda Cares is a wonderful organization that helps grieving families at no cost to those they help. This is an organization that would benefit every community.
Amanda The Panda has delivered wonderful Holiday Baskets to HCI bereaved clients for the past 2 years. The baskets have been a blessing in what may have been otherwise a very slim to non exisitent holiday celebration after the detah of a loved family member. Kudos to ATP, Charlie, and the other awesome women who make ATP click!
I have known two families who were served by Amanda the Panda following a death in their families. The support and thoughtful gift boxes at Christmas time made a huge difference in their lives and helped make what was sure to be a tough holiday much more meaningful. Amanda the Panda is such a unique organization because it serves people in need emotionally during a time of grief. What is so inspirational is that it really does help people - both children and adults - grieve well and to have an outlet for sharing their feelings and emotions with others who understand what they are going through.
This is a great non-profit that works hard to help children and families through their process of grief. It seems like every time I tell someone I volunteer for Amanda the Panda, they tell me how the organization has helped them or someone they know. The loss of a loved one is a difficult experience to deal with on your own, and Amanda the Panda has perfected their process of helping people cope.