Expanding Jill's House Beyond Tysons:
A Successful Pilot Weekend
At Jill's House, we continually explore new and innovative ways to
Justin and Jenna paddle their canoe on the lake at Camp Highroad--one of many activities Jill's House children enjoyed at camp.
meet the high demand for respite. With our weekend programs at full capacity and hundreds of families on waiting lists, Jill's House recently explored the potential for off-site summer camps by caring for a group of children at Camp Highroad, a Christian camp in Middleburg, VA. The pilot results were extremely positive!
On June 22, nine Jill's House children met at McLean Bible Church's Loudoun campus and traveled with staff and volunteers to Camp Highroad for a weekend of exciting fun. In this new setting, the children experienced traditional camp activities, made accessible according to their needs. The kids enjoyed paddling in canoes, learning to use a bow and arrow, conquering the high ropes course and singing songs around a campfire.
We are delighted to demonstrate that providing respite in a camp setting can be safe, cost-effective and fun, which potentially opens the door to more off-site respite opportunities for the families we serve.
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|Jill's House on "FamilyLife Today" August 30 and 31
On August 30 and 31 at 7:30 am
, tune in to WAVA 105.1 FM or visit familylifetoday.com
to hear Brenda Solomon (co-founder of Jill's
House) and Cameron Doolittle (president and CEO of Jill's House) in an interview with FamilyLife Today hosts Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine. The show, which reaches 9 million listeners, will air in two parts, outlining the inspiration and history of Jill's House and sharing stories about the families served.
|Jill's House on ABC 7's "Harris' Heroes" August 8
Award-winning journalist Leon Harris, anchor on ABC 7/WJLA-TV, has selected Jill's House to be featured in "Harris' Heroes," a local news segment that spotlights citizens and organizations that make a brighter future for children in the D.C. area. Be sure to tune in Wednesday, August 8 at 5 pm
, to see the segment and hear from three parents about how Jill's House has made a difference in the lives of their sons and daughters.
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The Greatest Gift: A Child's Joy
Family Spotlight: The Reese Family
Respite could not have come at a better time for single mom Kelli
Anna, left, with younger siblings June and Fredric, feels like a princess at Jill's House.
Lozada Reese, who was recovering from cervical cancer when her daughter, Anna, first spent the weekend at Jill's House in 2010. Anna, now 12, has cerebral palsy and Cohen syndrome, an inherited disorder characterized by developmental delay and intellectual disability. She has two typical siblings, June (10) and Fredric (6).
Easygoing Anna loves to dance, sing and look at books. Like many young girls, she loves Disney princesses. Unlike most children her age, however, Anna has challenges with negotiating spatial awareness and cannot see well after dusk due to macular degeneration. She needs assistance with daily skills like dressing and toileting, and must be constantly monitored to ensure her safety.
As a single mom, Kelli handles the daily challenges of caring for three children while simultaneously managing Anna's complex medical and educational requirements. Like many parents of children with special needs, Kelli faces additional fears and uncertainty about her daughter's future care as Anna matures.
Anna looks forward to special visitors--like this African tortoise--during her time at Jill's House.
"Initially, Anna's visits to Jill's House showed me she could be happy and comfortable outside our home," said Kelli. "Now I'm less apprehensive about long-term care for her in the future." At Jill's House, Anna has found a special place to enjoy sleepovers, swimming, field trips and her favorite activity--visits from animals like Titus, the therapy dog.
When Anna is at Jill's House, Kelli is able to spend time with June and Fredric. Anna's dad, Mike, is also able to use Anna's Jill's House weekends to focus his attention on the other children--doing special things with each of them. Most importantly, both Kelli and Mike are able to relax during Anna's Jill's House weekends, feeling at ease that Anna is having a great time at Jill's House. "Seeing Anna bounce into Jill's House and not even say 'goodbye' to me and her siblings makes me feel confident she feels safe and happy," says Kelli. "For me, that is the greatest gift."
|Acuity Makes Jill's House a Reality for More Families in Need
Last month, Jill's House received a sizeable donation from Acuity,
Inc., a leading management and technology firm to the federal government. Acuity's previous grants helped Jill's House open two of its three living areas, Wilderness Lake and Wilderness Exploration.
"We cannot thank Acuity enough for their exceptionally generous gift," said Cameron Doolittle, Jill's House president and CEO. "We are deeply grateful for Acuity's continuing support for Jill's House. It's clear that Acuity is not only a great business, but a contributing part of our community that is deeply committed to giving back by serving those in need."
"This is a special place that transforms the lives of the people it serves so willingly and so completely," says Acuity's CEO, Rui Garcia. "The success of Jill's House spurs our passion to continue to support such a worthy organization. I'm extremely excited to see them continue to grow and to make a life-long impact on children and families who are in desperate need of their services."
In October, a team of employees from Acuity will be running the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K with Team Jill's House. In addition, employees will be volunteering with the Jill's House children in the fall.
Jill's House is proud to continue its partnership with Acuity, Inc. Read more about Acuity's gift to Jill's House
Serving at Jill's House Gives Purpose
Chrissy Amatangelo shares why volunteering at Jill's House is important to her.
Chrissy loves engaging with the children at Jill's House and making each child feel special.
JH: Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am currently pursuing a Masters in Occupational Therapy. Prior to that, I worked in the corporate world. Along the way I served in camp settings with kids for several summers.
JH: What brought you to Jill's House as a volunteer?
I wanted to gain more experience with children with special needs in order to prepare myself for my career change. I enjoy spending time with children--I thought it would be fun!
JH: What do you do as a volunteer?
I serve in several different capacities. As a group helper, I have the opportunity to interact with the children. I pick up shifts in the kitchen, as I know how important it is to be conscious of the children's numerous dietary needs. I also help out in the pool, which is a favorite around Jill's House! When I am with the children, I try to discern what engages each child: what activities they enjoy, what sensory stimulus gets their attention and what soothes them. What I enjoy most is when a child accomplishes something new, or when I am able to connect with a child in a specific way. I taught one little friend some simple clapping games ("One Potato, Two Potato"). Now every time I see him, he grabs my hands to do the motions while saying the rhyme. For the first time in a long while, I feel that what I am doing matters--to the children, as well as to the staff, who are superheroes! I know they appreciate the extra hands.
JH: Would you encourage others to volunteer?
Absolutely! I wish I had come to Jill's House sooner! People say they don't have time. That was probably my excuse as well. But it doesn't take much to donate a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. You don't need any special training beyond a heart for children. The children are fun and friendly and love to do typical "kid" things. They just want someone to do those things with them! This is not to say that there will never be moments that are a little daunting, but the staff handles issues without forcing the volunteers out of their comfort zones. Ultimately, Jill's House is a fun and energizing place to be. As trite as it sounds, the children will teach you some things you never expected.
Wild Wild West, Treasure Hunters and Rock Stars Come to Jill's House This Month
Jill's House summer camp is in full swing and July had plenty of exciting themes, activities and new adventures for our special children.
Here are just a few highlights from this month:
Gillian proudly shows off her cowgirl hat.
- During Wild Wild West week, children made their very own cowboy and cowgirl hats, and ended the week with a special visit from Peaches, a therapy horse.
- This month, a couple of our children began to play and swim in the pool for the first time! One little girl who never swam before now looks forward to pool time each week! What a triumph for this special child.
- Children made treasure boxes during Treasure Hunters week, and filled each box with trinkets of their own.
- Children interacted with a cavy (similar to a small kangaroo), tortoise, snake, bearded dragon and tarantula. The different textures stimulate the children's senses.
- Children played bongoes in the music room during I Am a Rock Star week, and made their own drums to take home.
|Jill's House Featured at DC Fest August 18
Join us for DC Fest on August 18, 2012 at the Patriot Center in
Fairfax, VA and hear Christian artists like Mercy Me, Third Day, Sanctus Real, Brandon Heath and more! We are grateful that Jill's House will get to share about the ways we transform lives with more than 7,000 attendees. Please join us for the special event. Purchase your tickets
for DC Fest today!
|Ways to Support Jill's House
Tee Up for the 12th Annual Links for Little Ones Golf Tournament
On Monday, October 8, 2012, Jill's House will celebrate its 12th Annual Links for Little Ones (LFLO) Golf Tournament at the 1757 Golf Club in Dulles, VA.
This annual event is a favorite tradition for golfers and friends on Columbus Day and an excellent way to introduce friends to the ministry and vision of Jill's House. Guests play eighteen holes on this premier northern Virginia course, and then enjoy an awards banquet with teams from all flights winning prizes. All tournament proceeds support Jill's House operations.
Tee Up and Join Us!
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|FUNraisers Impact Jill's House: You Can Too!
Many of our friends and supporters ask, "How can I help bring Jill's House to more families?" It's easy. Be a FUNraiser!
One family raises money for Jill's House through an annual Christmas light show at their home.
Brian, an avid biker, biked across the country and donated gifts from his sponsors to Jill's House ... Donna's business designated a percentage of its sales during the month of May to Jill's House ... Jamie, a high schooler involved in student government, organized and led a fundraiser on his campus to benefit Jill's House.
We call these amazing people "FUNraisers." What talents or skills can you use to rally friends to support the work of Jill's House?Here are a Few Ideas for FUNraisers
- Participate in a walk, run or triathlon and have your friends and family support you for each meter, mile or lap you complete.
- Donate a percentage of your business' sales to Jill's House.
- Invite family and friends to make a gift to Jill's House in lieu of birthday, wedding, anniversary or graduation presents.
- Host a community-wide yard sale with your neighbors and friends.
- Organize a sporting event, concert or tournament.
- Create a personalized fundraising webpage with photos and videos.
- Share your efforts with friends and family through email and social media.
- Easily track your donations and your progress toward your goal.
Begin today by downloading our FUNraising packet
, checking out the FUNraisers website
or by contacting Kat Vinson at email@example.com
or 703.639.5670 to get started right away.
Photo of the Month
Jewel, age 8, proudly displays the Native American bracelet she made during the Wild Wild West week at Jill's House summer camp!
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July 31, 2012
Since opening in October 2010, Jill's House has provided 113,897 hours of respite.
The 12th Annual Links for Little Ones Golf Tournament
|MCM Marathon Sold Out! Spots Still Available for the 10K |
Run the 2012 Marine Corps 10K on October 28th with Team Jill's House and help us serve children with special needs and their families by doing something you love. Sign up today
or contact Kat Vinson at firstname.lastname@example.org
|What Our Families Are Saying...|
"My son really profits from the social interaction of Jill's House. Your staff gets him to think and verbalize in ways outside of our regular routine. The pool and the playground provide the physical exercise that he needs that I am not able to offer anymore as I age and deal with my own physical limitations."
"Jill's House and its staff are the best thing that could happen to me and my family."
"It is so exciting when my daughter comes to me and points or types out 'Jill's House,' or 'camp' as we call it here. She loves to go."
| Work at Jill's House |
As Jill's House grows, it continues to need more great people.
We are currently hiring for the following positions:
-Child Care Specialist
-CDL Bus Driver
-Water Safety Instructors
-Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Complete listing and job descriptions.