Supporters Raise $1 Million for a Permanent Home for Valerie's HouseApr 11, 2022 09:53AM ● By Jessica Wagner
New Valerie’s House rendering; All photos courtesy of Susan Bennett
Supporters of Valerie's House tore down the walls of grief and built up the walls of Love at the capital campaign fund-raiser hosted on April 7 by Norman and Mary Love and Elaine and Fred Hawkins.
A total of $1 million was raised for the new forever home of Valerie’s House to be built on Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard in Fort Myers. A total of $2.5 million has now been raised toward the $3 million goal.
“Norman and I have always believed in the mission of Valerie’s House and Angela Melvin’s passion. To be able to witness the evolution of a child grieving into a child thriving is unbelievable,” said Mary Love.
In addition to providing a safe place for children and their families to grieve, the new 7,000-square-foot home also will allow Valerie’s House to help more children and provide wrap-around services, such as individual grief counseling to support families who desperately need it.
Additional major sponsors of the Valerie’s House Forever Home include the Clark Family Foundation, Bob and Christa Huseby, the Jordan Ashley Gutheim Foundation, Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, Unto the Least of These Foundation in honor of John Sheppard, Victory Layne Chevrolet, Christina Schwinn, Linda and Angela DePardo, Gayle Rosemann, the Galeana Foundation, the Gerner Family Charitable Fund, Boots Tolles and the Verrill Foundation.A $500,000 challenge grant from David and Linda Lucas was matched by Creighton Construction & Development in December for a total of $1 million toward the campaign. The City of Fort Myers donated land for the new home with a $1 per year lease.
Guests nibbled on appetizers donated by area restaurants and spirits while viewing the artwork created by the children of Valerie’s House. Food was donated and prepared by Harold’s Cuisine, Crave, Blu Sushi, and Norman Love Confections.
Valerie’s House has helped more than 2,000 children and their families since its founding in 2016 by Angela Melvin, whose own mother was killed in a car accident in 1987.
One in eight 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 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.
About Valerie’s House
Valerie’s House opened in January 2016 and has served more than 2,000 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 locations: 1762 Fowler St. in downtown Fort Myers, 819 Myrtle Terrace in Naples, and group therapy meetings at First United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda. For more information, visit www.valerieshouse.org.
SUSAN BENNETT, APR, CPRC
Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C.
1900 Virginia Avenue, #703
Fort Myers, FL 33901
(239) 277-5255 Phone
(239) 246-0844 Cell