Perry Kiwanians glimpse inner workings of grief-management group

Teske Drake-Vance, left, program coordinator for the Amanda the Panda Family Grief Center in West Des Moines, was welcomed last week to the Perry Kiwanis Club luncheon meeting by Kiwanis President Abi Albrecht. Photo courtesy Perry Kiwanis Club Secretary Doug Wood

The Perry Kiwanis learned about coping with grief last week when they were visited at their weekly noon luncheon at the Hotel Pattee by Teske Drake-Vance, program coordinator for Amanda the Panda Family Grief Center located in West Des Moines.

Drake-Vance described the programs and services for children and adults who have experienced the death of a loved one offered by Amanda the Panda (ATP), which was formed in 1980 by JoAnn Zimmerman.

Services include Camp Amanda, peer support groups, family nights, holiday support, special fun days, school visits and speaking engagements, Drake-Vance said.

Amanda the Panda services are available at no cost, she said, and the organization operates entirely from grants and donations. Their major fundraising event of the year is the ATP Annual Charity Golf Tournament, scheduled this year for June 29 at the Echo Valley Golf Course in Norwalk.

Prairie Meadows is a major ATP contributor, Drake-Vance said, and the group is concerned by recent reports the horse track and casino could have its non-profit status revoked by the IRS.

Perry Kiwanis President Abi Albrecht welcomed Drake-Vance to the weekly meeting and thanked her for her informative discussion.

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