Valerie's House Programs for Grieving Children and Families
Tucked away in a cozy historic home, Valerie's House programs give children ages 4- 19 years old and their families a safe place to share, grieve, and grow. Our programs are provided free of charge, thanks to generous donations, grants, and volunteer support.
We know that no one grieves the same. Our overall effort is to lovingly assist children and their caregivers on their journeys towards mending broken hearts.
Valerie's House is modeled after the nationally-recognized and acclaimed Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families. Programs at Valerie's House include open-ended peer support groups and activities to help children to heal after a significant loss in their life. While it is not a formal counseling center, Valerie's House provides a community and a platform for individuals to come together, share and mentor one another through grief, and create supportive bonds they can take into their futures.
WHAT HAPPENS AT VALERIE'S HOUSE?
Valerie's House kicks off on weeknights twice a month from approximately 6:30pm until 8:30pm. After some free playtime and a potluck meal, our children break up into groups depending on their age. Valerie's House heavily relies on the use of art and music to help our youth identify, express and process their grief. Younger children heal and speak about their grief often with “play therapy”, as often their little hearts simply cannot find the words to express such trauma. Activities are wide and varied. For example, recently children worked on a special bead bracelet activity where each color bead they placed on their bracelet represented a part of their grief story and their emotions attached to that story. Teenagers meet and often spend time discussing their feelings, their struggles, their healing, and how they are moving through school and life with the loss. Being together with others like them is powerful and helps tremendously.
While children are meeting and bonding, their adult caregivers are also meeting in an adjacent room in our "home away from home", sharing in their own grief and supporting each other as they raise children after a loss in their family. Our vision at Valerie's House is that the entire family is supported and helped. Valerie's House children can enter into our program one day or one year, or even ten years after the loss. There is no set time when the child comes in, and they can keep coming as long as they want. All services are offered at no cost to families.
In addition, monthly family outings and fun, bonding events are offered to help families connect and support one another. Group session participants are welcome to call or visit Valerie’s House at any time during the day for additional support.
JOIN OUR FAMILY TODAY
If you've experienced a death–or know someone who has–use this form to be added to the Valerie's House family for services. We have programs available in Fort Myers and Naples.
Or lend a hand and your heart by volunteering your time to the Valerie's House community. One of our caring staff members will be contacting you shortly.