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FORT MYERS, FLA., MARCH 25, 2024 – Valerie’s House celebrated the grand opening of its new Family is Forever home March 14 with a ribbon-cutting and tours of the new facility at 3551 Shoemaker Lane, now known as 3551 Valerie’s House Way, in Fort Myers.

More than 300 people attended the ribbon-cutting and toured the new home, including Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson, Lee County commissioners, Lee County District School Superintendent Dr. Christopher Bernier, Fort Myers Police Chief Jason Fields, Fort Myers Fire Chief Terry McMillion and Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce members along with members of other local chambers of commerce and other dignitaries. 

About 200 people attended the open house the following day.

A total of $3 million was raised toward the cost of the new home, which is built on land donated by the City of Fort Myers under a $1 per year lease.

“We are incredibly grateful to all of the people and organizations who have made this possible,” said CEO Angela Melvin Churchill.  “Having this space will open the door to building more partnerships, educating our community, and most importantly, giving us the needed space to help thousands more families and children who are grieving.”

The home is a cozy, warm, old Florida style structure, with special rooms like a volcano room, which allows children to work out any anger or other emotions they have because of their loss.  The 7,000-square-foot facility will allow Valerie’s House to provide wrap-around services, such as individual grief counseling, parenting classes, and family retreats to support families who need it.

“From the moment you walk through the doors we want families to feel at home.  Along with a beautiful outdoor space for the children to play and large dining area for family meals, there also are rooms dedicated to every age group. From little ones, to teens, to caregivers, each group has their own space designed for them to come together to support one another through healing activities and discussions,” she said.

Valerie’s House has helped more than 5,000 children and their families since its founding in 2016 by Angela Melvin Churchill, whose mother, Valerie, was killed in a car accident in Fort Myers 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, and Port Charlotte. Valerie’s House is a United Way partner agency and is fully supported by community donations.

For more information about Valerie’s House or to make a donation to the Forever Home, visit  call 239-204-5804.

About Valerie’s House

Valerie’s House opened its first location in Fort Myers, Florida in January 2016 and has served more than 5,000 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 Southwest Florida locations: 3551 Valerie’s House Way in Fort Myers, 819 Myrtle Terrace in Naples and 233 East McKenzie Street in Punta Gorda.  Valerie’s House also expanded into Northwest Florida in 2021 with a home in downtown Pensacola.  For more information, visit

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