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National Children’s Grief Awareness Day is November 16

FORT MYERS, Fla. – October 31, 2023 – 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.

“Valerie’s House is joining other members of the National Alliance for Children’s Grief to acknowledge and support children who are grieving and their families,” said Valerie’s House Founder and CEO Angela Melvin Churchill. “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 16, 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. in downtown Fort Myers from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Please RSVP to [email protected]

●    Valerie’s House will produce a podcast with the Lee County school system about how to support students who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

  • Throughout National Children’s Grief Awareness Month, Valerie’s House will share personal stories from families during videos, interviews and other profiles posted on social media 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.

Among the initiatives of Valerie’s House and the National Alliance for Children’s Grief is “flip the script” on grief by addressing common challenges people face when supporting those who are grieving.  Various scripts are provided to replace potentially hurtful language with more comforting and constructive responses.

For example:

Instead of “I’m sorry for your loss,” flip the script and say “Thank you for telling me what happened.I know there are no words to make it better.  Just know I’m here and want to support you.”

Instead of “you need to be strong,” flip the script and say “Do you want to talk? Do you want to tell me about your (person who died)?”

“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 Churchill said.

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. Since then, the organization has grown to help more than 3,000 children and expanded into three additional locations in Naples, Punta Gorda, 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 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 Gibraltar Drive in Port Charlotte.  For more information, visit

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