Valerie’s House Gives Children a Voice During
National Children’s Grief Awareness Month in November
FORT MYERS, Fla. – October 31, 2022 – Valerie’s House, a nonprofit organization helping children grieve the loss of a loved one, is participating in National Children’s Grief Awareness Month in November with numerous activities to give grieving children a voice.
“The loss and destruction the Southwest Florida community has experienced from Hurricane Ian now further compounds the emotions grieving children are experiencing. Children are grieving so much – their schools, their homes, their entire neighborhoods, another loved one in their life may also have died,” said Valerie’s House Founder and CEO Angela Melvin. “We must stand with them and support them now more than ever.”
Two major events are planned during the month:
- Valerie’s House in Fort Myers will host an open house so the public including families, school professionals, and other community members can tour the house and learn more about its grief support services Thursday, November 17, which is National Children’s Grief Awareness Day. Professionals who work with children are encouraged to wear blue and drop by Valerie’s House at 1762 Fowler St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Valerie’s House in Naples will host a Live Art Event on Friday, November 18, at 819 Myrtle Terrace. Visitors are invited to drop by from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to meet local artists, enjoy small bites and a raffle as well as an opportunity to tour Valerie’s House and learn more about how art helps children heal. Tickets are free. RSVP to email@example.com
Throughout National Children’s Grief Awareness Month, Valerie’s House will share personal stories from families during videos, podcasts, interviews and other profiles posted on Facebook and on their website. They also are encouraging residents to share their own stories of loss on social media and how they have survived the trauma.
“We are asking everyone to join with us in helping. Reach out to anyone you know who is grieving and tell them about Valerie’s House. Let them know we are here for them and that they are not alone. Give them a voice, let them know you hear them,” Melvin said.
Valerie’s House counselors have been invited into Lee County schools during November to train school personnel on how to help children experiencing the trauma of losing their school or home to Hurricane Ian.
“A lot of kids are grieving the loss of their school and their classmates in addition to the loss of their homes. They need a sense of normalcy, which we will strive to provide so that school personnel can better respond to students impacted by Ian,” Melvin said.
Valerie’s House first opened its doors with 20 children and their caregivers on the evening of January 11, 2016 in a small house in downtown Fort Myers. Since then, the organization has grown to help more than 2,000 children and expanded into three addtional locations across Southwest Florida, including Naples, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and its newest location in Pensacola.
One in seven children in Florida is predicted to lose a parent or sibling before the age of 25, according to the 2021 Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model.
Valerie’s House provides a safe, comfortable place for children and their families to heal together following the death of someone they love. Valerie’s House offers support groups and other activities at a home on 1762 Fowler Street in Fort Myers and a home in Naples at 819 Myrtle Terrace. Valerie’s House also holds group meetings in Charlotte County at First United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda at 507 W. Marion Ave. and at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 2565 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte. Support services are also offered in Pensacola. Valerie’s House is a United Way partner agency and is fully supported by community donations. More information can be found at www.valerieshouse.org.