Our Team

Angela Melvin

Angela Melvin

Angela Melvin
Founder & CEO

angela@valerieshouseswfl.org

Born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida, Angela Melvin is the Founder of Valerie’s House, based on a successful national model that focuses on providing children and families who have lost a loved one a loving place where they can grieve together and learn the tools to go on and live successful lives.

As a 10-year-old child in Fort Myers, Angela lost her mother, Valerie, to a car accident. With the help of a strong family structure and father, Angela was able to go on in life, despite her tragedy.  Yet, even today Angela says, “With a place like Valerie’s House, I would have connected with children like me...”  Read more about Angela.

 
Danielle Visone

Danielle Visone

Danielle Visone, MSW
Program Director

Danielle obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work from Florida Gulf Coast University. She has a passion for working with children, and in particular with those who are grieving, having experienced the loss of her own father. Danielle spent much of her childhood participating in a program similar to Valerie's House in her home town of West Palm Beach. She was instrumental in the launching of Valerie's House, as a group leader and an advocate, from its inception. In May 2016, she was hired as the first Program Director. 

Previously, Danielle volunteered with grief camps and completed courses on grief, death & dying focusing on how children from different age groups are affected. She is currently a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working towards her LCSW, and is pursuing certification in Thanatology. Danielle has experience in leadership, non-profit development and networking primarily while a student and University Ambassador Director at Florida Gulf Coast University. These experiences have prepared her well for undertaking the program director position at Valerie's House.

Contact Danielle at danielle@valerieshouseswfl.org .

 
Carol Gates

Carol Gates

Carol S. Gates
Family Support Specialist

Carol is thrilled to be serving grieving families in Southwest Florida as the Family Support Specialist.  In this role, Carol works directly with children and their parents, helping them through the program and providing them support in their journey through grief.  Additionally, Carol is a lead facilitator for several of the adult caregiver groups at Valerie's House. Carol has more than 15 years of experience working with those experiencing grief from the very young to the very old, in her previous role as Executive Director of Rockford Lutheran Schools.  Carol has also served on the Board of Directors for Samaritan Counseling Services in Barrington, Illinois and developed programming for suicide prevention and loss within the congregations she has served.  Carol has a Master’s of Divinity Degree and serves as an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and as a certified Law Enforcement Chaplain.

Contact Carol at carol@valerieshouseswfl.org

 

Ally O'Brien

Ally O'Brien

Allyson O'Brien
Program Assistant

Allyson is an undergraduate student at Florida Gulf Coast University studying Psychology. Having lost her father at the age of 16, Allyson understands what it feels like to grow up without a parent and can relate to many of the children in our program. Her passion for children is a vibrant part of her personality and is shown in everything she does. Allyson will pursue a Masters of Social Work at FGCU upon the completion of her Bachelors degree.

Contact Ally at ally@valerieshouseswfl.org

 

 

Group Leaders

Kayla Schusterman

Kayla Schusterman

Aman Singh Nemitz

Aman Singh Nemitz

Kayla Schusterman, LCSW

Kayla is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who received her Bachelor and Master degrees in Social Work from Florida Gulf Coast University. She is also a certified Prepare Enrich facilitator.  Kayla’s experience includes: group work with survivors of suicide; residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment; counseling adults, couples and children in a private practice setting; and, she is currently a school social worker for the Lee County School District.  She is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers.



 

Aman Singh Nemitz, BS, MSW

Aman obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology and Sociology from Wayne State University in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan in 2011. Aman graduated with her Master's in Social Work degree from University of Southern California in 2017. After the sudden loss of both her parents in a fire in their home at the age of 22, and becoming a co-guardian to her teenage brother, a passion was sparked to devote her life to working with others facing difficulties.

Aman has volunteered and worked in both individual and group counseling settings with clients experiencing addiction, dual diagnosis, homelessness or poverty. Aman has also worked extensively with clients who are court ordered to treatment for felony drug court, anger management, and batterers convicted of domestic violence. Aman has completed over 300 hours of additional training on specific treatment modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, play therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. Aman enjoys incorporating elements such as creativity, humor, and mindfulness into the therapeutic process. In Aman’s free time, she and her husband, Jason, have fostered and adopted out over 100 pugs for a pug rescue, specializing in caring for medically complicated pugs. They also share a love for weather watching and go storm chasing in Tornado Alley every year. 

Monika Urbanska

Monika Urbanska

Monika Urbanska, MA

Monika is a recent graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods-College mastering in Art Therapy and Mental Health Counseling.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2009 from Boston University with a BFA in painting and minor in printmaking. Originally born in Torun, Poland, Monika is bi-lingual in Polish and English. She is the co-owner, co-founder and artist of a local performance fishing apparel company called The Reel Chase and a painting instructor at The Painted Conch in Cape Coral. For the past 4 years she has worked at De LaSalle Academy of Fort Myers as a teacher and counseling intern with special needs children K-12. She specializes in working with children and adolescents with Autism, ADHD/ADD, anxiety, depression, and grief as well as substance use in adults. She employs a client centered approach utilizing Constructivist, Cognitive-Behavioral, and Dialectical-Behavioral theoretical platforms.


Meghan Collins, MSW

Meghan Collins

Meghan Collins

Born and raised in Fort Myers, Meghan has a heart to serve the community of Southwest Florida. Meghan first discovered her passion to support children and adolescents after creating and leading a Pilot Program, PACE Sisters, for the PACE Center for Girls. Since then, Meghan has received her Bachelors and Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work at Florida State University, and is currently a licensed Clinical Social Work Intern working to obtain her certification as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Her prior internship experience includes working for The Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut and working in the Pediatric Unit, Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department at Gulf Coast Medical Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. She also has experience in assisting families facing the effects of Addiction and Co-Occurring disorders, by facilitating both individual and group sessions. Meghan offers a client-centered and strengths-perspective approach, utilizing both Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Meghan is delighted with the opportunity to serve grieving children as a Lead Facilitator, and member of the Valerie’s House family.