Our Team

 Angela Melvin

Angela Melvin

Angela Melvin
Founder & CEO

angela@valerieshouseswfl.org

A third generation native of Fort Myers, Florida,  Angela is the Founder and CEO of Valerie's House. Her mother, Valerie, died in a car accident in 1987 when Angela was 10 years old, sparking a lifelong passion to find a place that could help other children like her.   Angela says, “With a place like Valerie’s House, I would have connected with children like me and it could have made all the difference in my life.”  

A University of Florida graduate, Angela spent 10 years working as a broadcast journalist around the country and then on to become a Communications Director on Capitol Hill in 2011.  Angela returned to her hometown in 2013 and shortly after, founded Valerie’s House.

Angela was honored as a News-Press “Hero of the Year” finalist in 2017, a "Person of the Year" Finalist in 2016, and a Gulfshore Business "40 under 40" in 2015.

 
 Laura Romig

Laura Romig

Laura Romig, MA LMFT
Director of Care and Compassion

Laura leads the bereavement staff and work hands on with families to develop activities and strengthen the Valerie's House grief program. Laura also leads our Naples Middle School Group.

Laura has more than 16 years of experience working as a licensed therapist with children and families. Her past positions included Outpatient Therapist at The Counseling Center for Healing in North Palm Beach, FL, and  Bereavement Counselor in both Palm Beach and San Diego.

She graduated with her Master of Arts, Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling in 2001 from the University of San Diego and has completed training in play therapy for children and adolescents and specialized grief training for children. 

Contact Laura at laura@valerieshouseswfl.org

 Ally O'Brien

Ally O'Brien

Allyson O'Brien
Program Coordinator

Allyson is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Having lost her father at the age of 16, Ally understands what it feels like to grow up without a parent and can relate to many of the children in our program. Ally is at the center of much of the Valerie's House activities, working with the Director of Care and Compassion to carry out the program and make sure every child and family is cared for. In addition, she works with our dozens of volunteers to help utilize their skills to best fit our growing program. Ally's passion for children is a vibrant part of her personality and is shown in everything she does.

Contact Ally at ally@valerieshouseswfl.org

 

 
 Jay Graham

Jay Graham

Jay Graham, Director of Philanthropy

Jay Graham oversees fundraising and donor development efforts, working to expand the program’s impact on grieving children in the community. Graham is an experienced senior development executive, bringing 20 years of philanthropic work experience with him, including executive positions at the Muhammad Ali Center and The Healing Place, both in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also an entrepreneur who has launched and run several businesses throughout his career. Graham earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He holds a master of arts degree in missiology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. 

 
 melody madigan

melody madigan

Melody Madigan, Program Assistant

Melody Madigan is no stranger to helping the youth of Lee County. She has served Lee County students as a School Counselor for nearly 40 years. After retiring, Melody began to volunteer at Valerie’s House and facilitated one of our support groups. Realizing that Valerie’s House is the perfect place to satisfy her passion to help youth she readily accepted a position as Program Assistant. She participates in intake interviews, assists in the planning of group activities, makes family contacts and, her favorite, leads\ing children support groups.

Melody’s educational background includes a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from the University of Akron, a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Kent State University. From her years of being a School Counselor Melody realizes the sincere need for a grief support center and is thrilled to be a part of Valerie’s House.

Contact Melody at melody@valerieshouseswfl.org

 JOANNE HAYDEN

JOANNE HAYDEN

Joanne Hayden, Operations Director

Joanne helps the various moving parts of Valerie’s House to run smoothly. She takes care of all of the property needs as well as the business side of Valerie’s House, and is also often seen at community events speaking and helping build awareness for Valerie’s House. She identifies with what the children at Valerie’s House are going through, as she lost her father when she was 14 years old.

Joanne comes to Valerie’s House after working for 23 years in office management and leadership positions with the Lee County Tax Collector’s office. She is a Certified Public Manager and earned her Bachelor degree in Interdisciplinary Social Science from Florida State University. Joanne has called Southwest Florida her home for more than 40 years and enjoys her free time with her husband and three children.

Contact Joanne at joanne@valerieshouseswfl.org

 

Group Leaders

 Kayla Schusterman

Kayla Schusterman

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

Aman Singh Nemitz

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.