Valerie’s House, which offers support services focused on children who have experienced loss, operates three homes in southwest Florida. They recently received a $100,000 grant from the Naples Children & Education Foundation that’s going to help them expand their services in Collier County. Valerie’s House gives children a home-like environment to identify, express and process their grief through art, music and other services, all overseen by licensed clinical social workers.
The nonprofit opened its first home in Fort Myers in 2016, then expanded to Naples in 2017 in a borrowed space with limited capacity. Now it’s going to be opening a new, permanent home in Naples this August, which will allow them to help approximately 100 more local grieving children and families. We're joined by its founder, Angela Melvin; and we also meet Naples resident Debbie Rettew, as well as her two daughters 15-year-old Nikko, and 11-year-old Maddy, who lost their father John in 2017 after a long 6-year battle with cancer.