Grief Support Groups, Camps & Activities

EveryStep Grief & Loss Services offers a variety of grief support opportunities provided at no cost for anyone in the community. Available to individuals and families of all ages, our services include: our Amanda the Panda program’s grief camps, monthly or quarterly support groups, eight-week educational support groups, memorial gatherings, family nights, peer support and mailed resources.

Events and support groups are hosted at EveryStep Hospice locations in eight Iowa communities and at the EveryStep Grief & Loss Services office (home of Amanda the Panda) in West Des Moines. 

EveryStep Grief & Loss Services' bereavement counselors are available to meet with families or visit by phone throughout the first year following a hospice patient's death. The counselor can provide families with information or simply lend a friendly ear. 

Life after the loss of a loved one is a difficult time of adjustment.

At EveryStep we are honored to listen to your story and walk with you during your time of sorrow.

Following are some common emotional reactions to grief. All feelings are normal. Talk to an EveryStep bereavement counselor or Amanda the Panda staff member to learn more.

  • Sadness
  • Shock and numbness
  • Anger 
  • Frustration
  • Denial
  • Guilt
  • Emotional distancing
  • Lack of interest
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Anxiety or feelings of panic
  • Lack of confidence


Grief Support Groups

EveryStep Grief and Loss Services offers support groups for people of all ages. They are hosted at EveryStep Hospice locations in eight Iowa communities and at the EveryStep Grief & Loss Services office (home of Amanda the Panda) in West Des Moines. To learn what services are available in your area, visit our events calendar or call an EveryStep location near you, and ask about our grief and loss services.

  • Centerville:  (641) 856-5502
  • Council Bluffs:  (712) 325-6802
  • Des Moines: (515) 333-5810
  • Knoxville:  (641) 842-4312
  • Mount Ayr:  (641) 464-2088
  • Mount Pleasant:  (319) 385-4472
  • Osceola:  (641) 342-2888
  • Perry:  (515) 465-4705
  • West Des Moines/Amanda the Panda:  (515) 223-4847

View our office locations and service area.

Types of Support Groups

  • Understanding Your Grief is an eight-week educational program which helps facilitate the basic skills needed to use grief as an opportunity for growth. Participants receive a free copy of Alan Wolfelt's book, "Understanding Your Grief", learn about the 10 essential touchstones for finding hope and healing through loss. Visit our events page to search or register for a support group near you.

  • Touching Our Grief is an ongoing, monthly grief support group hosted at or near our various hospice offices. It's open to adults who have suffered the loss of a family member or friend and are seeking support and education. It is never too late or too early to seek support after the loss of a loved one. Our free group sessions are led by our expert bereavement counselors, and offer a safe place to give and receive support from others. Everyone is welcome to join at any time to talk about their grief, or to just listen as others share their stories of coping with grief.  The group meets at or near EveryStep Hospice locations. Visit our events page to search or register for a support group near you.

  • Peer Support Groups are held at the Amanda the Panda Center for Grief & Loss in West Des Moines. The groups are offered for children (kindergarten and above) , teens and adults. Each support group starts with supper, and divides into smaller peer groups based on age, where participants do a variety of age-appropriate activities to facilitate discussion sharing. Childcare is available for children preschool-aged and below upon request. Trained volunteer Support Group Facilitators lead each group with the goal of promoting peer support and connectivity. Together, we work to recognize how grief affects our minds and our bodies, identify and accept grief emotions like anger and guilt, learn healthy coping skills, and create rituals to honor our loved ones who have died. To register for a Peer Support Group, please complete an Amanda the Panda Registration form.  

    Amanda the Panda's peer support groups are offered four times per year, each with a different theme:

    • Winter Session: Winter Wellness
    • Spring Session: Grief Through the Expressive Arts
    • Summer Session: Growing Through Grief
    • Fall Session: Seasons of Change

Search for upcoming Grief & Loss Groups and Events.

Become an Amanda the Panda volunteer.


Camps

EveryStep Grief & Loss Services' Amanda the Panda program offers overnight and day camp experiences for individuals and families living with grief and loss.

  • At Amanda the Panda Grief & Loss Camp, children (kindergarten and above), teens and adults find a place of comfort and support as they connect with others who have experienced the death of a loved one. Together, with the companionship of trained volunteer camp counselors, campers gather to honor, remember, learn, and grow in their grief journey. Camp is offered in the spring and in the fall at scenic campgrounds that offer full amenities. 
  • Amanda the Panda also offers a one-day camp, The Nature of Grief, for ages 10-17. Youth participate in guided outdoor activities and build connections with their peers.

Learn more about our camps.

Questions for our Amanda the Panda team? Please call 515-223-4847 or email griefandloss@everystep.org


Social Support Events

EveryStep's Amanda the Panda program offers "Fun Days" are devoted to engaging participants in activities that promote fun and offer an opportunity for individuals, children, and families to rebuild after the death of a loved one. Bring your whole family and even some friends for a fun social outing offered at various times throughout the year. Contact the Amanda the Panda team for details, 515-223-4847. 


Cheer Box Program

For those that have lost a loved one, the holidays can be especially difficult. Cheer Boxes are a holiday box of twelve, family friendly gifts that go out to all families that have felt the pain of losing a loved one; during the holiday season, we want to remind them that they have our support and care. We hope to provide Cheer Boxes to 150 families each holiday season. 

Learn more about our Cheer Box program.


School Visits and Presentations

The staff at EveryStep's Amanda the Panda program often visit students and staff who have been affected by the death of a loved one, classmate or a member of the school staff. Activities and discussion are tailored to meet the needs of the students and the situation.Contact our Amanda the Panda program for details, 515-223-4847. 


Community Support

Many times, we experience grief as a community. Maybe your organization or workplace has lost a member of its team, or your town is suffering the loss of a special individual. EveryStep offers support to groups and entire communities through our Day of Hope and Healing and with other programs tailored to the needs of the community. Activities help residents heal after tragedy and promote healing for losses that may not fit within our traditional support groups and camps. Contact our Amanda the Panda program for details, 515-223-4847. 


Support Grief and Loss Services

Purchase Items from our Wish List

Want to give something tangible to EveryStep's Amanda the Panda program? Check out our wish list on Amazon, and help us stock needed items for our grief support programs!

Create your Own Fundraiser

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Help us continue to offer EveryStep's grief and loss support services at no cost to participants. You can create your own personal fundraising campaign to benefit our mission! Using our easy online tools, you can invite your friends and family to:

  • Honor a loved one with a gift to EveryStep.
  • Use an upcoming celebration or event as an opportunity to donate to EveryStep.
  • Create a customized fundraiser to benefit EveryStep.
  • Support EveryStep Grief & Loss Services' Amanda the Panda program.

Click here to start a fundraiser for EveryStep Grief & Loss Services