April 19, 2021
Pam and Dan Sargent: 30 Years of Providing Donor Support
In the 1980s when JoAnn Zimmerman, program founder of EveryStep Grief & Loss Services’ Amanda the Panda program, told stories of children needing an outlet for grief after a loss, it impacted the heart of Pam Sargent. She and her husband Dan have now supported the healing journeys of others for more than three decades.
“I heard her speak through a program I was involved in at the time,” Pam said. “It struck me that this was important. So I proceeded to donate through the years.”
Whether joining in at an Amanda the Panda Grief and Loss Camp, donating to the program or arranging for support group dinners, the Sargents have always been willing to lend a hand to the program. Pam has even driven from her home in Ames to ensure that the dinner she’s providing for a grief support group arrives safely at the EveryStep Center Grief & Loss Center in West Des Moines. More recently, the Sargents have been contributing to the Cheer Box program both with gifts and monetary donations.
Since being introduced to the Amanda the Panda program Pam has known and connected with many people who have been impacted by it, including many grieving Iowans who have attended support groups or received Cheer Boxes during the holidays.
Pam recalls an instance when she realized the impact the program could have on someone’s life. A widow who married a family friend had attended Amanda the Panda Grief and Loss Camp with her children. As she interacted with other adults at camp, the remarried woman realized how different her journey was from someone who hadn’t had grief resources available to her.
“Death is a part of our life, but we are so unprepared for it,” she said. “That told me that we need this. People aren’t getting the help they need.”
It’s Amanda the Panda’s mission to serve others that continues to fuel Pam’s support.
“It’s important for people to have somewhere to go after someone dies,” she said. “I know Amanda the Panda started for kids and now has expanded to adults and whole families, that’s good. It’s so important for kids to have an outlet, I love that.”