Valerie’s House reopens to give support amid pandemic

Reporter: Andryanna Sheppard Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Angela Melvin, founder of Valerie's House, comforts Sidney Emery, 9 years old, who lost her mother at around the same young age as Melvin. (Credit: WINK News)
Angela Melvin, founder of Valerie’s House, comforts Sidney Emery, 9 years old, who lost her mother at around the same young age as Melvin. (Credit: WINK News)

Valerie’s House announced they’re reopening to give people a place to connect and feel comforted.

Jason Bishop is excited to see his friends and trek down the halls he once spent so much time.

“Joy. I’m going to be exceptionally excited,” said Bishop.

He misses being comforted by kids who understand what it is that he’s going through. He’s ready to be reunited with those who know what the sorrow of losing a parent feels like.

“Here, everyone respects you. Everyone wants to listen to you. Everyone wants to know what’s going on with you,” Bishop added.

He felt respected there. But, like many organizations, Valerie’s House had to begin virtual meetings when things began to close because of the pandemic. They still wanted to allow kids who have experienced the heartbreak that comes with losing a parent to be able to connect.

But Founder and CEO of Valerie’s House, Angela Melvin, says 80% of the families that they serve want their face-to-face connection back.

“Grief, it’s about being together. You can’t do it alone. it’s hard to do it alone,” said Melvin.

So, to support the children who need them most, Valerie’s House is reopening their doors but with some safety precautions, of course. Everyone will have to fill out a form before getting their temperature checked at the door. Hand sanitizer is scattered throughout each room.

But most importantly, everyone can go back to sharing their feelings, just six feet apart and with masks on.

“It’s a much easier thing to get through face to face. To talk about how you feel and what you’ve been struggling with face to face,” Bishop said.

All in an effort to make sure no child has to grieve alone.

Valerie’s House plans to reopen on Monday, August 3. Virtual groups will continue to be offered for those who want them.

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