• Christina Mehta Prendiville

Valerie’s House to Host National Speaker on Children’s Grief

Panel of students will also speak at event recognizing National Children’s Grief Awareness Day

FORT MYERS, Fla., October 20, 2017 –Valerie’s House, Inc., a Southwest Florida nonprofit helping grieving children, is hosting a special breakfast presentation in celebration of National Children’s Grief Awareness Day on Thursday, November 16. Andy McNiel, former Executive Director of National Alliance for Grieving Children, will make his first trip to Southwest Florida and deliver the keynote presentation: Kids Grieve too: Understanding and Helping Children After a Death. A panel of local high school students who have gone through loss will also take part in the presentation.

The event will be held inside the Gale McBride Pavilion at the Historic Burroughs Home and Gardens located at 2505 First Street in Fort Myers. The event begins at 8 a.m. with breakfast and a keynote presentation from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. An optional break out session will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm. The event is offered at no cost to members of the community, schools and those who would like to learn more about supporting grieving children.

Andy McNiel

“Grief continues to be a taboo subject, despite the thousands of children in our community who are impacted by a loss in our community,” said Angela Melvin, Founder and CEO of Valerie’s House. “This event will be very helpful for anyone who wants to understand how best to support grieving children.”

Melvin said Valerie’s House is keeping the event at no cost to attendees as a gift to Southwest Florida for supporting the organization over the past two years. Since opening its doors in January 2016, Valerie’s House has helped more than 200 grieving children and their families connect, support each other and learn the tools to move forward after a loss. The organization’s vision is that no child will grieve alone.

McNiel served as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance for Grieving Children from 2011-2017. He is a nationally recognized presenter and trainer, using a balance of humor, teaching and facilitating on childhood bereavement support, adult bereavement issues, and group facilitation.

VITAS Healthcare and Uncommon Friends Foundation are sponsors of the event. To register, go to or contact For more information call 239-841-9186. Space is limited. Please register early.

Valerie’s House is a United Way Partner Agency and is fully supported through generous donations from the community. For more information, go to

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