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 September at Jill's House 


backtotopIn This Newsletter
1. "Words Can't Express"

2. Annual Open House on October 14

3. Family Life Today Broadcast Creates National Awareness

4. Jill's House Launches Bus Fleet

"Words Can't Express"Words
Family Spotlight: Lynn Martin and her son, Sean O'Toole

Sean, 15, is non-verbal. Born happy and healthy, at just two years old he began having seizures. Diagnosed with epilepsy, the seizures left Sean intellectually disabled and with many challenges, including the inability to communicate verbally. 

Sean and Isac
Sean and Child Care Specialist Isac are best of buddies at Jill's House.

"I rely on Sean's facial expressions to understand his feelings," said Lynn Martin, Sean's mom. "So when I take him to Jill's House, it's so comforting to watch his face change from an expression that lacks emotion to one of utter joy." 

"I was told a long time ago that if Sean is ever truly motivated to speak about something that makes him happy, he will be able to mutter a word or two," continued Lynn. "One day, out of the blue, Sean tried to form a word. I had to listen very closely to figure out what he was saying. I finally asked Sean if he was saying 'Jill's' and his smile said it all! I then said 'house' and he repeated 'Jill's House!' My non-verbal son was motivated to speak about something he loves."

When Sean, an only child, was just four years old, his parents ended their marriage. After the divorce, Lynn and her son moved in with Sean's grandmother. Lynn was able to get limited respite from her sister, Nancy, for at least a few hours now and again. Sean developed close bonds with both his grandmother and his aunt, who loved him unconditionally. Then he lost his aunt to cancer in 2008, and his grandmother to dementia in 2010.

 "I didn't know where to turn," continued Lynn. "The two people, besides me, that Sean trusted and loved were gone. I resisted for a long time letting Sean go anywhere without me. We had never been apart for more than a few hours. I didn't believe he could be happy without me. But then, last January, I learned about the overnight respite stays at Jill's House through Sean's school, the Kilmer Center. After his first night at Jill's House, I got a report that he slept well and he was happy the whole time. And Sean's school began to report that since he's been going to Jill's House he is happier at school than before. His moods and positive behaviors are improved. And that, above everything else, is what matters most to me."

Jill's House makes Sean's time together with his step-father, Fred, more relaxed and fun.

"I'm as overjoyed as Sean is when he gets to go to Jill's House because I know he's going to be safe above and beyond what his needs are, and he's going to be happy. The activities he does there are things I would never think of. He really enjoys shooting hoops, playing in the moon bounce, swimming and the computer room. The peace of mind I have when I turn Sean over to Jill's House is just indescribable. It also gives me comfort in knowing that Sean can live without me. When I lost my sister, the only person I could imagine ever caring for Sean as much as I do, I began to fear for the future. But now, thanks to Jill's House, I know that even without me it's possible for others to love and care for Sean, and for him to be happy."

Male role models are very important to Sean, especially as he enters his teen years. "Sean lives for his time with Isac, a child care specialist at Jill's House," continued Lynn.  "When he sees Isac, his whole face lights up and I'm sure he's smiling on the inside the entire time he's there. He also adores my new husband, Fred, who stepped into a family dynamic that most men would run from. Fred has embraced Sean as his own child and we are truly blessed."


Read more stories of the families and children we serve.

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openAnnual Open House on October 14 
The only opportunity this year to tour Jill's House!   

Bring your friends, family and neighbors to help us celebrate two years of serving special children during our Open House on Sunday, October 14. Open to the public just once each year, on this special day you can take a tour, meet our families and see how Jill's House has transformed lives in ways we never could have imagined.

Since opening our doors in 2010, we have served 300 families and provided nearly 134,000 hours of much-needed respite care. And that need is growing. Hundreds of families are on the waiting list and a new family registers to come to Jill's House every single day.

We invite you to stop by on October 14 from noon until 6 pm to tour this one-of-a-kind facility and learn more about God's plan to help us serve children in other locations throughout Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and beyond.

For more information contact Althea Katona at althea.katona@jillshouse.org or 703.639.5666.

fltFamily Life Today Broadcast Creates National Awareness 
The August 30 and 31 Family Life Today radio broadcast featuring Brenda Solomon and Cameron Doolittle created national awareness of our mission to celebrate special children and renew their families through overnight respite care.

Following the broadcast in which Brenda shared her story and Cameron explained the growing need for respite for parents of children with intellectual disabilities, Jill's House experienced:
  • Donations from as far away as Alaska;
  • Increased Web traffic of more than than 500%; and
  • Prayers and blessings from people around the country.

If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to it here.


SchoolJill's House Launches Bus Fleet
Prayers answered for safe transportation and professional drivers  
Jill's House is grateful for our two-bus fleet. Our Weeknight School Program is growing so quickly we already need another bus to serve more children!  

With a significant waiting list for our Weekend Program, our Weeknight School Program is a blessing to many families. Getting the children here after school and taking them back the next day, however, has been one of the most complicated challenges for us to overcome. That is, until now!


Jill's House bus driver, Mike, provides a warm and welcoming smile to the children after a long day at school.
After months of praying, our two recently donated buses have been updated and repaired. Fully operational and designed to accommodate children with special needs, these buses allow us to serve sixty children each week from our partner schools. Every Monday through Thursday afternoon we pick up the children, bring them to Jill's House for the night, and return them to school the next morning. This gives the children a fun mid-week break and time to spend with their friends outside of the classroom, while their parents enjoy much-needed weeknight respite
Jill's House has also been blessed by our very own trained and dedicated drivers to safely transport our students to and from our twelve (and growing!) partner schools in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
Volunteer Loves Seeing Our Kids Experience New Things 
Volunteer James Thorsen shares what he's gained working with the children of Jill's House.

JH: Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a project manager for

James with one of our campers having a blast at Jill's House Blue Ridge in Middleburg, Virginia.

Thorsen Construction Company, Inc. Since it is a family business, I get to spend time with my best friends and help run a business that my father worked tirelessly to build. I committed my life to Christ not too long ago, so since then my interests have really changed. First and foremost, I enjoy serving. I also enjoy the Redskins, spending time with family and just plain hanging out. 


JH: What brought you to Jill's House as a volunteer?

The easiest and most honest answer is that God put it on my heart. In the past, I used so much of my time doing things for me, which included not doing things for others. I first learned about Jill's House when my buddy suggested I check it out. I soon saw the impact it had on families and how God is at work there. I knew I wanted to volunteer, not just think it was a great place for kids.


JH: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Seriously? That's like asking me to name my favorite ice cream. To be honest, I don't know. I haven't had every volunteer experience yet, but I've done a lot. I've spent most of my time in the swimming pool and helping with Jill's House Blue Ridge in Middleburg, Virginia. I enjoy the pool because when I was a kid growing up, I had the time of my life swimming during the summer with my buddies. It was awesome. Unfortunately, these kids don't have that same opportunity, so I just love hanging out with them. At Jill's House, many of these kids get to do a lot of stuff they probably didn't even know existed, and it's so much fun to be a part of that. For a lot of them it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I enjoy every part of volunteering. I could be on trash duty and I'd like it because I get to hang out with these great kids.


JH: Would you encourage others to volunteer?

I would, and I do encourage others to volunteer! These kids are awesome. When I first volunteered, I was a little nervous because I had never spent any time with children with special needs, but once you hang around them for over five minutes you realize that these kids are no different than you and me. Sure, they do some things differently than I do, but I do some things differenty than you do, and really, who cares? Seeing what a great blessing Jill's House is to these awesome parents who need a break is also amazing. The staff here is great, friendly, accommodating and welcoming. In a nutshell, the reason why I'd encourage someone to volunteer is this: At some point in your life you needed someone's help. Maybe you need someone's help right now. My advice is to return the favor and love these kids. You have nothing to lose and you'll realize that you've actually gained a lot more than you've given. 


To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Jill's House, visit jillshouse.org/volunteer or contact Jan Pascoe at jan.pascoe@jillshouse.org or 703.639.5665.


Vendor's Generosity Brings Unexpected Blessings

Jill's House noticed that the vendor who supplies our black staff shirts hadn't invoiced us. It wasn't unusual for her to provide the embroidery for free, but the hard costs of the shirts had always been passed on to us. We called the vendor to find out why we hadn't been invoiced, and her answer made us stop in our tracks.

"We feel that we have been compensated in other ways," said the vendor. "I don't know how to really explain this, but every time we provide service to Jill's House for free, we receive unexplained blessings. For example, after one of your recent shirt orders, we unexpectedly received payment on past-due accounts that we had pretty much given up hope on ever receiving. Another time we were facing an unanticipated expense to remove some trees. When you placed an order with us, we were told that the cost would actually be just a fraction, only 10%, of what we were originally quoted. We can't promise that every time Jill's House places a new shirt order with us that this will be the outcome, but we do believe God's hand is in your work and we appreciate being a part of what you do."

We thank God for bringing these precious people to Jill's House.


TeeFour Easy Ways to Support Jill's House at Work

Make a lasting difference in the lives of families of children with special needs when you participate in your employer's Combined Federal Campaign, United Way or employee giving program.

united way and cfc
Choose Jill's House and help celebrate special children and renew their families!
Your gift gives hundreds of families desperately needed rest and renewal through Jill's House.  There are four easy ways to give to Jill's House from your workplace:
  • Combined Federal Campaign #22742;
  • United Way #8244;
  • Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign #8142; or
  • Your own company's employee giving campaign.

For more information contact your employer or Althea Katona at althea.katona@jillshouse.org or 703.639.5666.

ballsPhoto of the Month 

Summer may have ended, but children from one of our partner schools enjoy an indoor swim on Monday nights.


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September 28, 2012


Since opening in October 2010, Jill's House has provided 133,385 hours of respite care.

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No Plans for Columbus Day? Golf With Us! 
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We have just a few spaces left, so sign up now!

The 2012 Links for Little Ones Golf Tournament will take place on October 8, 2012 at 1757 Golf Club in Dulles, VA. Register today

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Kat Vinson, Jill's House Development and Events Manager, at kat.vinson@jillshouse.org or 703.639.5670.

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Last Call for Jill's House Garden Path Pavers




Jill's Garden Path will be opening soon, and we invite you to honor or remember  those you love with a gift that will last a lifetime. In doing so, your gift will also make a world of difference to a child with special needs.


The deadline to reserve your Jill's House Garden Path paver is OCTOBER 1


Click here for more information or contact Althea Katona at althea.katona@jillshouse.org or 703.639.5666.

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What Our Families Are Saying


"I just want to give a big shout out of endless appreciation to all who are involved with Jill's House. You make it heaven on earth for my son and all of the kids that go there!"


"My daughter loves coming to Jill's House! It is apparent that she enjoys her stays and really looks forward to them. Respite has made a huge difference in our lives. As a single parent, it is hard to get "time off". I feel much calmer after a respite weekend and think I am a better parent because of it.  Thank you for providing this valuable service."  


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Be a Part of Our Team


As Jill's House serves more and more children, we continue to need great people.


We are currently hiring for the following positions:


-PT Custodian

-PT Contract CDL Bus Driver

-PT Child Care Specialist

-PT Water Safety Instructors

-PT & FT Registered Nurses (RNs)

-PT & FT Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)


Click here to view complete listing and job descriptions.


Jill's House | P.O. Box 9104 | McLean, VA 22102 | 703.639.5660

CFC #22742 | UW #8244