Teddy Bear Drive Spearheaded by Bishop Verot High School Honor Students

Scholars Academy Students Support Nonprofit for Grieving Children

Bishop Verot Catholic High School students collected more than 200 teddy bears for the local non-profit, Valerie’s House, with hopes that the grieving children in the program would have a cuddly toy to comfort them when they are talking about their loss.

Valerie’s House was selected to receive this generous donation by tenth graders Sophia Prendiville and Megan Piller as part of a Bishop Verot High School Scholars Academy service project. Prendiville and Piller were aware of the nonprofit organization through Prendiville’s mother, Christina Mehta Prendiville, who serves on the Executive Board of Valerie’s House. The teens also volunteer with the program by serving dinner at group night meetings and helping out at holiday parties and fundraisers.

Angela Melvin, Founder and President of Valerie’s House, said, “The Valerie’s House children look forward to getting a chance to go into the teddy bear library, and because of the generosity of the Bishop Verot staff and students, we will have plenty of cuddly bears for our kids in grief. Thank you to everyone who helped us this year.”

Melvin said the teddy bear drive has also increased awareness of the new nonprofit within the Bishop Verot High School community, and several teens who have suffered a loss have come forward and enrolled in the program.

Valerie’s House is serving 105 children and their caregivers from Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Hendry counties. Valerie’s House has three meeting locations: 1618 Avalon Place in downtown Fort Myers, Cape Christian Church, 2110 Chiquita Blvd S. in Cape Coral, and in Naples at The Village School at 6000 Goodlette-Frank Road.

Founded by Angela Melvin, Valerie’s House is named after her mother, Valerie Melvin, a 31-year old nurse and mother of two daughters who was killed in a car accident in 1987 as she drove to pick up her girls from summer camp.

Interested families or mental health professionals who would like to volunteer can contact Danielle Visone at 239-841-9186 or Danielle@valerieshouseswfl.org. Valerie’s House is fully supported through generous donations from the community. For more information or to make donations, visit www.valerieshouseswfl.org or mail to Valerie’s House, Inc., PO Box 1955, Fort Myers, FL 33902.