FORT MYERS, FLA. January 17, 2023 – Valerie’s House is one giant step closer to completing its dream of having a home of its own for grieving children and families in Lee County. Several local interior designers have stepped up to be the first to donate their creativity for the home under construction at 3551 Shoemaker Lane in Fort Myers.
The designers are the latest in a long list of community support for Valerie’s House, which initially began with the donation of a one acre property from the City of Fort Myers in November of 2019. Lennar Homes, Tomahawk Construction, Wayne Wiles Carpet, Creighton Construction and several others have stepped forward to help complete the project, which had been delayed due to COVID.
“We are very grateful for all of the people who continue to want to be a part of Valerie’s House,” said Founder and CEO Angela Melvin. “Having the creative talents of local interior designers is helping us bring this house of healing to life.”
The initial interior designers on the Valerie’s House Lee County Forever Home team are as follows:
● Lisa Davenport of LDD Interiors in Naples/Bonita Springs;
● Jolene Hardy of Jolene Designs in Fort Myers;
● Luanza Maitland of Norris Furniture and Interiors in Fort Myers; and
● Mickey Dickson Marzucca of Ecru & Ebony Design in Naples;
The designers have helped Valerie’s House create floor layouts for the different healing rooms to allow each space to be functional for the grief support groups and other activities that will be held at Valerie’s House.
Valerie’s House is now seeking local furniture stores, lighting, window treatments, and other businesses that will help furnish and fill the interior spaces.
Among the more unusual items needed are boxing gloves, hanging punching bags and tumbling mats for the Valerie’s House Volcano Room.
“Our Volcano room will help youngsters burn off energy and anger about the loss in their lives. Punching bags and boxing gloves will help them express the emotions they are feeling,” Melvin said.
There are 30 rooms to furnish with some still available for sponsorship. All donors will be permanently recognized on a wall in the hallway of support. To make a donation, visit www.valerieshouse.org/capital-campaign, call 239-478-6734, or email Project Manager Sterling Lund at firstname.lastname@example.org
“If you haven’t donated yet, please consider being a part of our family,” Melvin said. “We are so close to reaching our goal. When the doors later this year, you will know you are a part of this legacy for our community.’
A total of $2.6 million has been raised toward the $3 million cost of the new home that is under construction on land donated by the City of Fort Myers under a $1 per year lease.
The home will be a cozy, warm, old Florida style structure. The 7,000-square-foot facility will also allow Valerie’s House to help more children and provide wrap-around services, such as individual grief counseling to support families who desperately need it.
Lennar Homes is acting as the project manager for the construction of the home, which is expected to be completed by late summer.
Valerie’s House has helped more than 2,000 children and their families since its founding in 2016 by Angela Melvin, whose mother Valerie was killed in a car accident in 1987.
One in seven children in Florida is predicted to lose a parent or sibling before the age of 25, according to the 2022 Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model.
Valerie’s House currently offers peer support groups and other activities at locations in Fort Myers, Naples, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and Pensacola. Valerie’s House is a United Way partner agency and is fully supported by community donations.
About Valerie’s House
Valerie’s House opened in January 2016 and has served more than 2,000 children and their families from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, and Hendry counties. The organization provides a safe, comfortable place for children to share, grieve and heal together following the death of a close family member. Valerie’s House has three locations: 1762 Fowler St. in downtown Fort Myers, 819 Myrtle Terrace in Naples and group therapy meetings at several churches in Charlotte County. For more information, visit www.valerieshouse.org