PUNTA GORDA, FLA., Oct. 3, 2023 – Valerie’s House has purchased a new home in Charlotte County, enabling the non-profit organization to expand its services to children grieving the loss of loved ones.
The new home at 233 East McKenzie Street in downtown Punta Gorda includes a 1,500 square foot house plus an additional 500 square foot detached building that will be used for teen peer grief support as well as grief counseling. The new location will allow Valerie’s House to serve the increasing number of children from both Charlotte and Sarasota Counties.
“The warm and cozy house in downtown Punta Gorda is a special place for our families to call a home away from home,” said Valerie’s House Founder and CEO Angela Melvin. “We’ve been holding group counseling sessions at local churches and schools in both Charlotte and Sarasota counties for several years now. Having a home to call our own in Charlotte County will allow us to help hundreds more children and their parents who need support and counseling after the death of a loved in in their family.”
Melvin said Valerie’s House will begin offering peer to peer grief support groups, grief counseling and other trainings, resource nights and activities at the new house in January.
Renovations costing $75,000 are needed to make the restroom and parking ADA compliant, install a new roof and air conditioning. All sponsorships of $25,000 or more may be pledged over five years. A Walkway of Remembrance also will be installed with pavers available from $500 to $1,000.
More information about the new Charlotte County home and how to get involved can be found by contacting Charlotte County Director Christine Carey at email@example.com.
Valerie’s House is also nearing the completion of a three-year long building campaign in Lee County for its Family is Forever Home on a donated piece of land from the City of Fort Myers. The Fort Myers home is expected to open to the public in December.
“We are grateful to our volunteers, donors, Valerie’s House Board of Directors and staff for making the vision that No Child Grieves Alone in Southwest Florida a reality,” Melvin said.
Valerie’s House has provided grief support services to more than 400 children and adults in Charlotte County since expanding there in 2019.
Valerie’s House was founded in Fort Myers in 2016 by Melvin, whose mother
Valerie was killed in a car accident in Fort Myers in 1987. In addition to homes in Fort Myers and Punta Gorda, Valerie’s House also has homes in Naples and Pensacola.
One in nine 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 is fully supported by community donations.
If you know of a family who is in need of grief support, please go to the Valerie’s House website www.valerieshouse.org to find out more and enroll a family for help.
About Valerie’s House
Valerie’s House opened in January 2016 and has served more than 3,000 children and their families from Charlotte, Sarasota, Glades, Lee, Hendry and Collier counties as well as the Florida panhandle. 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 in Southwest Florida: 233 East McKenzie St. in Punta Gorda, 1762 Fowler St. in downtown Fort Myers, and 819 Myrtle Terrace in Naples. Support services also are available at the Charlotte Family Services Center at 21500 Gibralter Drive in Port Charlotte. For more information, visit www.valerieshouse.org