Sunset Soiree Raises $223,000 for Valerie's House
Above: Dr. Armando Llechu and Dr. Larry Antonucci at the Sunset Soiree
A sold-out crowd of 300 people at Miromar Lakes Beach and Golf Club on Oct. 17 raised $223,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, children’s art-work and both silent and live auctions. A $25,000 gift from Northern Trust helped elevate the total raised during an evening of children’s testimonials about how Valerie’s House has impacted the way they healed after the death of a parent or sibling. The annual event makes it possible for Valerie’s House to offer grief support free to families.
“We are forever grateful for the support of our community and the love they have shown to Valerie’s House children who most need our comfort and compassion. By attending Sunset Soiree, our guests helped us fulfill our vision that no child will grieve alone,” said Valerie’s House Founder and CEO Angela Melvin.
Valerie’s House has helped 800 children and their families since its founding in 2016 by Melvin, whose own mother was killed in a car accident in Fort Myers in 1987. The non-profit organization uses art and music to help children identify, express and process their grief.
Florida Gulf Coast University President Dr. Michael Martin and his wife Jan were the honorary chairs of the event for the second year in a row with ABC-7 Anchor Krista Fogelsong serving as mistress of ceremonies. “Jan and I have both seen Valerie’s House in person and met with the children there and were touched by the work they do. There is nothing else like Valerie’s House in all of Southwest Florida,” Dr. Martin said.
Auction items included art created by the children of Valerie’s House as well as vacation packages and dining experiences.
Golisano Children’s Hospital was the presenting sponsor of the event for the second year. Other major sponsors included Victory Layne Chevrolet, Enterprise Holdings, Florida Gulf Coast University, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank IBERIABANK, and Midland Self-Directed IRAs and 1031s.
Valerie’s House opened in January 2016 and is serving more than 800 children and their families from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, and Hendry counties. The organization provides a safe, comfortable place for children to share, grieve and heal together following the death of a close family member. Valerie’s House has two locations: 1762 Fowler St. in downtown Fort Myers and its newest location in Naples at 819 Myrtle Terrace. Valerie’s House also has a third location in Punta Gorda at First United Methodist Church.
Valerie’s House support programs are designed to give children ages 4 to 19 years old and their families a safe place to share, grieve and grow. The overall goal is to lovingly assist children and their caregivers on their journeys toward mending broken hearts. Programs include open-ended support groups and activities to help children, their parents, families and other caregivers to heal after a significant loss in their lives.
For more information about Valerie’s House or to register a family for programs, visit www.valerieshouseswfl.org/contact-us/, call 239-204-5804, or email [email protected]. Valerie’s House is fully supported through community donations that can be made online at www.valerieshouseswfl.org or by mail to Valerie’s House, Inc., P.O. Box 1955, Fort Myers, FL 33902.