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 October at Jill's House 

backtotopIn This Newsletter

1. From NFL Wife to "Little Family of Three"

2. Jill's House Innovation Recognized at International Conference

3. Generous Donor Challenges Us, Together, to Match Million-Dollar Gift

4. Child's Prayer Eases Cancer Fears

5. Volkswagen Employees Experience Servergnugen

6. Supporters Come Out for Jill's House, Rain or Shine!

FamilyFrom NFL Wife to "Little Family of Three"

Family Spotlight: Brenda, Taylor, and Brady Boose


When asked to describe her family, Brenda will simply tell you, "We are a little family of three." That is a simple description of a much more complex family dynamic.


Boose Family
Taylor (15), Brenda and Brady (12)

Brenda's family used to include a husband, the father of her two sons, Taylor and Brady. Her marriage to this National Football League (NFL) player was a happy, faith-filled union. After eighteen months of marriage, they were blessed with their first son, Taylor. Three years later another son, Brady, entered Brenda's world. Soon thereafter, however, when Brady was diagnosed with autism, her husband left it.


"I honestly think it was just too much for him to bear," explains Brenda. "He was a godly man, but sometimes the flesh just takes over. It would have been one thing if he left me. But he left the country. And his boys. They have not seen him in nearly nine years."


Early in their marriage, Brenda and her husband lived a life of privilege. She left her family in Washington State to follow him and his NFL career to Houston, Long Island, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. Around the time Brady was diagnosed with autism, Brenda's husband was injured. His career was impacted. So was his family.


"He moved to Canada and I was left with all of the responsibilities, including debt that I could not pay on my own. I honestly did not know how I could go on. My entire family was on the other side of the country. Brady needed constant care. Taylor needed attention. I had to work to pay the bills. I was broken. But I didn't have the option of running away. I was first and foremost a mom, and had to find a way to carry on for the sake of my sons. Masking my feelings every day and pretending I was fine was, and sometimes still is, the hardest thing I've ever had to do."


Up until the time he was four years old, when he uttered the word "mommy," Brady was non-verbal. His primary method of communication was screaming. "He screamed all the time," said Brenda. "It was exhausting for me, but it was devastating for Taylor. We couldn't go anywhere. We couldn't invite his friends over. We couldn't even pop in a movie and enjoy time at home because of the chaos. My immediate family was not here to help or give me a break. We were basically prisoners in our own home."


Brenda was first introduced to the concept of respite through McLean Bible Church's Access Ministry. "This was such a gift for me," explained Brenda. "The best part is that I could take both of my children there and get a total break for just a few hours. My friends expected me to use that time shopping, or going to see a movie. But I was physically, spiritually and emotionally spent. So I chose to drop off my kids, climb back into my car, recline my seat, and sleep for the four hours they were in Access. My car didn't leave the parking lot."


Brady Boose with pumpkin
Brady is growing up fast!

Brady, now twelve, is a precious child with an infectious smile, but his autism causes him to respond in ways that can be both aggressive and unpredictable. This is very difficult for Brenda to handle. "He's taller than me now, and his doctor expects him to reach the full 6' 6" height of his dad," explains Brenda. "I am totally insecure when we need to go out in public. Even though he has medications to control some of his behaviors, the outbursts still come unexpectedly, and I literally cannot physically control him when they do."

"I was so grateful to learn about Jill's House last spring, but at first I was just too overwhelmed. I didn't have the energy to go through yet another intake process that would require me to sift through piles and piles of paperwork. I also didn't know how I could commit to paying even my small portion each month. But I have a strong faith and knew that I had to trust God. So we began the intake process. I won't lie, it did take a lot of time, but it also showed me that Jill's House wants to know every little thing about Brady so they can care for him in ways that exceed even my ability to care for him."


"Brady has now been to Jill's House three months in a row, and it is truly something he lives for. His favorite part is chapel. He adores 'Mr. Brad' who leads the children in worship each Sunday. Brady has even made new friends, like a boy named Will. I haven't met Will because this is the first friend that Brady has made on his own! I have made new friends with the other single mothers, too. We all come from very different walks of life, but we all have one very strong common bond -- raising a child with an intellectual disability on our own."


"Life isn't easy for our little family of three, but we are blessed in so many ways. And knowing that for one weekend every month Brady can be celebrated at Jill's House, and Taylor and I can just do whatever we want is such a gift," continued Brenda. "Jill's House does so much more than give us time. It literally feeds our souls."


Brady's big brother, Taylor, in action.

"I pray for my ex-husband every day. He is missing out on so much. Taylor is following in his footsteps as a talented football player at Centreville High School. While we don't discuss it, I know that Taylor misses having his dad in the stands cheering him on. But luckily, he is surrounded by many friends from our church family who love and support him. And while the word 'autism' may have been something my ex-husband couldn't comprehend or handle, it doesn't define Brady. My Brady-boy is talented, funny, and has an innocent joy that just can't be described unless you meet him. I mourn that his dad can't know and appreciate Brady for the beautiful child that he is."


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InnovationJill's House Innovation Recognized at International Conference
World's respite professionals gather to share innovations and best practices


As head of this first-of-its-kind facility, Jill's House President and CEO, Cameron Doolittle, was invited to share about the impact Jill's House is having on families at the ISBA Respite Conference held earlier this month in Toronto.

ISBA delegates learned of Jill's House innovative respite program.


"The outcome variable that we're trying to move is stress," said Doolittle. "As we know, families of children with severe intellectual disabilities experience 60 percent more stress than the rest of the population. That stress hurts marriages, reduces attention available to typical siblings, increases depression and anxiety, and ultimately compounds the child's delays."


"Many of us who offer respite feel in our bones that it's working, but don't know how to develop the data to prove it," said Doolittle. "We have the data to prove that overnight respite is having the desired effects."


"While all respite is good, we've found that the overnight respite in which Jill's House specializes is especially efficient. When we care for children every day of the week, for 40 hours, stress drops 52 percent. That's good. But when we care for a child for just one night -- about 18 hours -- stress drops 59 percent."

Revised Respite Chart
Jill's House overnight respite delivers the most stress reduction per hour of respite given.


Since the conference, Jill's House has fielded professional inquiries from Germany, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, in addition to several domestic inquiries. We are delighted that God has provided us with the chance to deliver this innovative service, and to share its success with leading social services professionals around the globe.

MatchingGiftGenerous Donor Challenges Us, Together, to Match Million-Dollar Gift 
We've established our roots, now it's time to branch out

In just two short years, Jill's House has transformed lives in ways we never could have imagined. Since opening our doors in 2010, we have served more than 300 families and provided nearly 145,000 hours of much-needed respite care. We are now at full capacity for our weekend program, with a waiting list of hundreds of families in need of both physical and spiritual rest.

Jill's House is growing!  
But God has opened a door, giving us both a vision and a means to get there through a very generous donor. This donor has graciously provided one million dollars and has challenged all of us, together, to match this generous gift by March 31, 2013. This will ease the burden of financial obligations from our roots and give us the freedom to cost-effectively branch out to other locations to serve more families.

And we know how to serve in new locations, because we have. This summer, we took our program and some of our Jill's House kids to a camp, where we replicated our services, celebrated the children, and renewed the families.

Now we want to take this program into Washington, D.C., Maryland, and beyond. Our prayer is to serve families in 20 locations around the nation by the year 2020.

Will you help us get there? When you give online, please include "20 by 2020 Matching Challenge" in the comment box. Thank you!
PrayerChild's Prayer Eases Cancer Fears
Volunteer blessed and comforted by one of our children
One of our loyal volunteers made the commitment to serve our children on a recent Sunday. She almost changed her mind, however, because the Friday before, she got the devastating news that she may have breast cancer.

"I was shocked and afraid," shared the volunteer. "The last thing I wanted to do was to go into Jill's House that weekend. I didn't trust myself to not break out in tears. But I went, anyway."

That Sunday in chapel, one of our children approached her, gently placed his hand on her shoulder, and said "I am going to pray for you, okay?" She nodded and paused while the young boy closed his eyes, silently and quickly said his little prayer, and then happily went on worshipping.

"Later that day," explained the volunteer, "this sweet little boy came up to me and asked 'Do you want to know what I prayed for? I prayed that you will have a very long, happy life.' I did burst into tears. But for a very different reason than I expected. I was no longer filled with fear. I was filled with faith. And the next week my doctor called to say it wasn't cancer, after all."

PhotoMonthVolkswagen Employees Experience Servergnugen

Volkswagen Credit chooses Jill's House for corporate volunteer experience

Volkswagen Volunteer Day
Volkswagen employee Matt Darnell and Jill's House guest, Eddie, discovered they both love shooting hoops!


Seventeen employees from Volkswagen Credit recently spent a Tuesday afternoon volunteering at Jill's House. With the initial goal to give back to others, Matt Darnell, General Manager of Volkswagen Credit, felt his team left Jill's House having gained so much more. Matt's note of thanks to Jill's House summed up their experience:


"Thank you for the opportunity to serve! What an incredible time we had playing with the boys and girls in all of the different and truly amazing activities you have for them. The volunteers and staff that we interacted with were absolutely incredible. They served us by providing examples of roles we should all follow in both our professional and personal lives. Being a part of your organization for just one day was truly inspirational and has made a lifelong impact on our team."


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EventsSupporters Come Out for Jill's House, Rain or Shine!
Golf, Open House, and the Marine Corps Marathon made for a very busy October

This month kicked off with our 12th annual Links for Little Ones (LFLO) Golf Tournament at 1757 Club in Dulles, Virginia on Monday, October 8. The day may have been drizzly and cold, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the 100 golfers who came out to support Jill's House!  The event raised nearly $70,000 to support our children and families.

Despite the rain, our loyal supporters still had a great time.
We want to give special thanks to our year-round partners, Accenture and Acuity; to Joe Livingood for his leadership of the dedicated LFLO Committee; to our Ace sponsor, Cardinal Bank; and to our Eagle sponsors, which include the DesJardins Family, Rick Ojala, Sovereign Insurance, Washington Financial Group, Wells Fargo Bank, and the Jill's House Board of Directors. We also appreciate Randy and Susan Wyant for photographing the event.

On Sunday, October 14, Jill's House opened its doors to the public for the one and only time this year. On this bright, sunny day we welcomed nearly 1,000 visitors, most of whom had never visited Jill's House before. They took tours, met some of our families, and learned more about the mission of Jill's House. We are blessed to have so many people interested in the ways Jill's House transforms lives.

Finally, on Sunday, October 28, just one day before Hurricane Sandy hit, more than 50 runners participated in the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K in Washington, D.C., as part of Team Jill's House. This dedicated group of athletes have trained for months and collectively raised more than $50,000 to support our children!

Thank you to all of our partners, sponsors, and friends of Jill's House for your commitment and ongoing support.

LibertyLiberty University Students Spend Weekends with Jill's House
Special Ed students provide great care at Jill's House Blue Ridge

As we bring overnight respite to more families through our Jill's House Blue Ridge program in Middleburg, Virginia, we have received an overwhelming response from Liberty University. More than 80 Liberty students have expressed interest in serving at Jill's House Blue Ridge, and more than 30 are already scheduled to serve as "buddies" during upcoming weekends!


Under the guidance of Jill's House staff, the Liberty students assist their buddies as they experience -- many for the first time -- canoeing, hayrides, ropes courses, and making s'mores around the campfire.  

Liberty University volunteers
Liberty student Hannah enjoyed serving her "buddy" on the ropes course.

The Liberty University students who have already served did a wonderful job and they, too, were grateful for the opportunity, as evidenced by some of the feedback we received:


"God really opened my eyes and through your wonderful, amazing staff members I really got a feel of how to minister to these awesome children. You are excellent examples of Christ's love!"


"God has done such amazing things through Jill's House and your continuation of that ministry at Jill's House Blue Ridge. This organization is truly amazing."


The more that groups like these decide to spend their weekends serving as buddies, the more children we can serve! To learn more about bringing a group to serve at Jill's House Blue Ridge, visit jillshouse.org/volunteer or contact Jan Pascoe at jan.pascoe@jillshouse.org or 703.639.5665.


 October 31, 2012


Since opening in October 2010, Jill's House has provided 143,725 hours of respite care.

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Save the Date!


April 6, 2013: The Big Band Dance to Benefit Jill's House


May 4, 2013: A Celebration of Special Children, an inaugural benefit for Jill's House, Ritz-Carlton Tysons


June 8, 2013: The Ride for Jill's House - 100-mile motorcycle ride


October 14, 2013: The Links for Little Ones Golf Tournament, 1757 Golf Club

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Give to Jill's House at Work!


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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.

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 703.639.5699 or althea.katona@jillshouse.org

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Next Month at Jill's House


Jill's House is growing in ways we never could have imagined. With the success of Jill's House Blue Ridge, we have partnered with an organization in Colorado Springs to provide respite to even more children. Learn more in our November newsletter!

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What Our Families Are Saying


"We were so excited and relieved to learn our son was scheduled for a visit to Jill's House in December. He told us that all he wants for Christmas is another weekend at Jill's House!"


"While our two sons with special needs stayed with you, my husband and I were able to accomplish so much. We had fluid, uninterrupted conversations. We took part in a ministry outreach. We felt as though we caught up on years' worth of getting behind. We almost didn't want to sleep because we felt we would be losing precious time!" 

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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 Specialists

-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