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Valerie's House Founder Appears on National Television
Melvin said she received a call November 22 from the show's producers, asking if she would be available for the interview as their Good News story.
The six-minute interview was done via Zoom from the Valerie's House location in downtown Fort Myers.
As a result of the interview, Melvin said she has received dozens of calls and emails asking about Valerie's House and how callers can have a Valerie's House in their community. The Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest show also donated $5,000 to Valerie's House to continue their good work.
"It was a great experience as I was able to tell the Valerie's House story to a national audience and spread the word about how to help children grieve the loss of a loved one," Melvin said after the interview.
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 additional locations across Southwest Florida, including Naples, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and its newest location in Pensacola.
The interview came on the heels of National Children's Grief Awareness Month in November. 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.
In addition to talking about the founding of Valerie's House, Melvin discussed the Pay It Forward vision of Valerie's House where teens who have gone through the program then come back and mentor other grieving children.
Ryan and Kelly also asked Melvin about Valerie's House expanding throughout the state and nationally. Melvin replied, "We know there are many places around the country that are without grief support services for children and if we can help other communities start something similar to Valerie's House, we will do so."
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 from Florida locations in Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Naples and 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.
Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C.