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February at Jill's House

In This Newsletterb2t

1. The Kettell Family: "I Can Park My Car How I Want To"

2. Seven Stories of Love from Jill's House

3. Deployed Sailor Sponsors a Child While in Afghanistan 

4. ExxonMobil Spouses Club Graciously Serves Jill's House

5. "Tell Me Town" Foundation Celebrates Jill's House 

6. Volunteer Spotlight: Janet Dalland

7. Photo of the Month: Even Frosty Wants to Be a Jill's House Fellow! 

Son's visits to Jill's House allow parents Steve and Lisa to simply "be".
When Stephen visits Jill's House, his parents Steve and Lisa have time to let go and truly connect.


"When our teenage son Stephen is at Jill's House," said Lisa Kettell, "my husband Steve and I have time to just 'be'.


"Stephen has autism, doesn't speak and requires help with most of his self-care needs. At nearly six feet tall, that is a lot to handle. But beyond the physical requirements of caring for Stephen, there are the behaviors that are common to so many children on the autism spectrum. For example, Stephen wakes up in the middle of the night to make sure my pocketbook hasn't moved, that it is sitting on the counter at just the right angle. When I drive with Stephen in the car, he becomes very agitated if I don't back into a parking space, so I always need to circle until I find a space I can back into.

Stephen loves teenage activities like the Jill's House Joy Prom he attended with his friend, Yvonne.


"Stephen's need for consistency and maintaining a regular schedule is extremely high. When it's time for him to go to Jill's House, we begin preparing him about a week ahead of time. We pretend the phone rings, pick it up and say 'Stephen, Jill called! She wants you to come and play next week!' We always ask if he wants to go, just as we would a typical teenager. It's simple respect. But the answer is always 'yes,' and he then begins packing his backpack and preparing with great joy. This preparation time is necessary to minimize distress to his routine.


"When Stephen is at Jill's House, the things he loves most are swimming, hanging out with his friends and just having space to be a teenager. Last spring he went to the Jill's House Joy Prom and had the time of his life. His caregiver escorted him, and I waited in the car because I wanted it to be his night. He rode in a limousine and even danced. It was a very special night for him and for me. But even the regular visits to Jill's House are extra-special. When he is there, Steve and I spend time on our marriage, park our car how we want to, and I toss my purse wherever I like. Having the time to exhale and just 'be' is extremely valuable and renews our energy to care for Stephen. Read more.


CEO Cameron Doolittle shares the Jill's House story on patheos.com.
Jill's House president and CEO Cameron Doolittle shared a special message about authentic love in a patheos.com article "Seven Stories of Love" on February 13:

As Valentine's Day approaches, it's worth remembering that romantic love is not the only love worth celebrating. The love among families, especially parents' love for their children, is one of the small miracles of the universe. And the love we show when we help a friend, or even a perfect stranger, deserves its own special day of honor.


For several years now I've enjoyed a front-row seat -- in my work with Jill's House, which serves the families of children with severe intellectual disabilities -- to both these kinds of love.


The families we serve experience 60 percent more stress and 80 percent higher divorce rates. Why? The strain of staying up all night monitoring seizures. The isolation they experience when other families don't want to connect (most of the kids we serve have never been invited to a birthday party). The pain of not being able to communicate with their child, or have their child communicate with them. Many of the kids we serve have never -- and will never -- say "I love you" to mom or dad. And yet their mothers and fathers love them nonetheless. Read more.


sacfanDeployed Sailor Sponsors a Child While in Afghanistan
Making a difference for our country and the children we serve.

We recently received an email from a donor who is currently overseas serving our country:


"I am deployed in Afghanistan and will not return for a few months. I started sponsoring a Jill's House child last year. Can you please confirm that my regular contributions will be ongoing? Thanks so much, and God bless."

Sponsor a child like Waverly, 10, and help cover all direct care costs, including activities like animal therapy.


We are so grateful to this military hero and all of you who lift up families and keep marriages together through the Sponsor-a-Child-for-a-Night program. 


The direct care cost to serve a child at Jill's House is $200 per night and includes food, activities, nurses and childcare staff.


While Jill's House works to keep the family's portion to a minimum -- as little as $3 per hour -- the balance of $125 for each night's stay is covered through sponsorships, 100% of which goes to the direct care of a child. Join this Jill's House military hero and sponsor a child today! 


50 ladies volunteer their time and many creative talents.

On Wednesday, February 12, more than 50 members of the ExxonMobil Spouses Club spent their morning making a difference at Jill's House.

Members of the ExxonMobil Spouses Club gave their time and talents to help support the families Jill's House serves.
A significant benefit of corporate partnership with Jill's House includes the opportunity to volunteer. With our deep and growing relationship with ExxonMobil, the Spouses Club helped in a variety of ways, including making beds, cleaning toys, creating activity kits and helping our Advancement team prepare for A Celebration of Special Children on May 30 at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.


"Thank you so very sincerely for the warm welcome and wonderful volunteer guidance that was provided to our group!" said Dena Patel, president of the ExxonMobil Spouses Club board. "Our members felt the day was worthwhile, enjoyable and very productive. It has been our extraordinary pleasure to partner with Jill's House, including this volunteer opportunity. Please do not hesitate to let us know if we can continue our partnership into the future in any way to benefit Jill's House!"


To learn more about Jill's House corporate partnerships contact denise.daffron@jillshouse.org or 703.639.5663. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please contact sara.potter@jillshouse.org or 703.639.5671. You can also visit jillshouse.org/serve.


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tellmetown"Tell Me Town" Foundation Celebrates Jill's House
Jill's House receives special recognition for compassion and care.
The "Tell Me Town" Foundation presented Jill's House with a special award of recognition on Wednesday, February 26.  "We are so honored to recognize Jill's House for the wonderful work you have done and continue to do for families in our community," said Cindy Chambers, president of Tell Me Town. "Your organization shows such compassion and care and we want you to know how much it means."
Tell Me Town President Cindy Chambers (in pink) stopped by with her representatives to present Cameron Doolittle, president and CEO of Jill's House, and his staff, with a special award.
Cindy is the author of the Beamer Book series and tellmetown.com -- a fun, safe online community for children and their parents that helps children understand topics like sickness, the emergency room and special needs. Proceeds from Cindy's forthcoming book on special needs will help bring more children to Jill's House.
volunteerVolunteer Spotlight: Janet Dalland
"I needed you more than you needed me."
JH:  How long have you been volunteering at Jill's House?
Janet has been serving faithfully since Jill's House opened its doors.
JD:  I have served Jill's House for three years. Prior to volunteering here I worked as a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit. One day, I just suddenly knew in my heart it was time for a change. I was drawn to Jill's House with a deep knowing that I needed you much more than you needed me.
JH:  What do you do at Jill's House?
JD:  I have done a variety of administrative tasks, but now I serve regularly as a receptionist to answer phones, greet people when they walk in, and support the staff in any way I can. The work of the employees at Jill's House is extremely important, and I want to do everything I can to unburden the staff by taking small jobs off their plates so they can serve more children.
JH: Are there any special stories you'd like to share about your time at Jill's House?
JD:  On the first Wednesday we started serving children after school a father dropped in just to make sure his son arrived safely on the bus and that he would be OK. The staff assured him that his son was doing great and would have a wonderful time. They encouraged the man to use his time to rest and renew. As the man walked away, he turned to us with tears in his eyes and shared that he was about to take his other son out for dinner and a movie for the first time in eight years. He said this with a combination of disbelief and gratitude. I am so blessed to be part of an organization that makes such a significant impact in the lives of deserving people. Read more.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Jill's House, visit jillshouse.org/serve, email sara.potter@jillshouse.org or call 703.639.5671.

snowmanPhoto of the Month: Even Frosty Wants to Be a Jill's House Fellow!
Jill's House Fellows Elise (left), from Texas, and Charlotte, from California, built a Jill's House Fellow snowman, complete with shirt and badge. Today is the last day applications will be accepted for the 2014 Jill's House Fellowship Program. For more information visit jillshouse.org/fellows.

February 28, 2014


Since opening in October 2010, Jill's House has provided 318,982 hours of respite care.


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April 26, 2014: The Big Band Dance to Benefit Jill's House


May 30, 2014: A Celebration of Special Children, an Evening of Inspiration for Jill's House at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.

Martina McBride, four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, will perform at A Celebration of Special Children on May 30.


Special thanks to our signature sponsors, Acuity, Inc. and The Johnson Group. Sponsor the event or make your reservation today!


June 7, 2014: The Ride for Jill's House: 100-mile motorcycle ride through Northern Virginia


October 13, 2014: Annual Links for Little Ones Golf Tournament


October 26, 2014: Team Jill's House Marine Corps Marathon and 10K


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Accessibility Summit Coming to MBC 

April 4-5


The 2014 Accessibility Summit, a conference for the special needs community, will be held at McLean Bible Church Tysons April 4-5.  The keynote speaker is Dr. Paula Kluth, a highly respected expert on inclusive education and the author of numerous books on the subject.



During the two-day conference, there will be 45 workshops of interest to parents, teachers, churches, or professionals connected to children or adults with special needs. 


Visit accessibilitysummit.org for more information.  Immediate members of families currently served by Jill's House are eligible for a discounted rate of $65 for a basic registration.  Use the promo code JILL14 when registering online. For more information contact Rosie Oakley at 703.770.2918 or rosie.oakley@mcleanbible.org.

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What Our Families Are Saying


"Having respite this past weekend made the hardest time of my life less stressful. My mom passed away last week, so I spent the weekend at the funeral home and helping my dad. It's been a very hard week, and Jill's House was such a blessing!"


"We love Jill's House! Thank you for letting my child be a part of such greatness. I feel so confident when he stays there. It's a win/win for him and for us!"


"When we picked up our daughter from Jill's House, the childcare specialist met us and took the time to provide us with every detail of her weekend. Thanks for being so attentive."


"Thank you for giving my son the opportunity to experience new things. He was never interested in being read to before, but after spending time in the Jill's House library, he now loves books. Thank you!"


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Be a Part of Our Team

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


We are currently hiring for the following positions:


-FT Donor Relations Manager 

-PT Childcare Specialists

-PT Water Safety Instructors


View complete listing and job descriptions here.


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Volunteer at Jill's House


If you are 16 or older, visit jillshouse.org/volunteer to explore ways you can serve children, help with administrative tasks and more!
Jills House Volunteers
Watch this video to learn how you can make a direct difference in the life of a child with special needs.


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Donate Your Old Vehicle and Help Us Serve More Families 


Wondering what do to with your old car, truck, motorcycle, RV or boat? Donating it to Jill's House is convenient, easy and may qualify you for a tax deduction. Best of all, your donation will make a big difference in helping Jill's House provide respite to families. To learn more, call 866.628.2277.

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

CFC #22742 | UW #8244