Since opening our doors in 2010, Jill's House has provided 371,055 hours of respite. 

CFC #22742
United Way #8244

familiesMilitary Families Raising Children With Special Needs Encounter Unique Challenges
Family Spotlight: Meet the Works
Jill's House provides the Work family with frequent breaks that help keep them focused and strong.
Out of the approximately 500 families Jill's House serves, over 40 of them are Military families raising children with intellectual disabilities, with more on our waiting list. While all families raising children with special needs experience higher stress levels than the rest of us, those who are dedicated to serving our country encounter additional complications such as deployments, scheduling logistics and frequent moves.

"We are a Military family that has moved a total of seven times in 15 years," said Pat Work, father to Jill's House guest JP, 12. "Our country has been at war for 13 of those years and we've been deployed back and forth to Iraq and Afghanistan a total of 10 times. So for us, it has been quite a commitment both trying to serve our country and staying a close-knit, nuclear family that continues to move our marriage and the children we're raising forward."

Watch this video and meet Pat Work, a defender of our country and a Jill's House dad.
Watch this video and meet Pat Work, a defender of our country and a Jill's House dad.
JP has an 11q chromosome deletion that has resulted in a series of cognitive and physical disabilities. The deletion he has is so rare that at the time of his birth there were no other children diagnosed with the same deletion.

"My first deployment to Afghanistan was in 2002 when JP was born. During the first phone call I made to my wife, Mara, after JP's birth, she assured me that he was perfect. Eight hours later, she learned a whole lot more. Mara went through the first several hard days alone with JP because I was gone." Read more.

Lorna Lagarde understands the challenges military families raising children with special needs face.
Retired Chief of Pharmacy for Joint Task Force designates Jill's House gifts to Military families.

We recently caught up with Jill's House donor Lorna I. Lagarde, RPh, and asked her why she gives to Jill's House:

"When I toured Jill's House for the first time, I saw the world-class tools used to guide the children with intellectual disabilities, and I was impressed by the highly qualified professionals who work with them to ensure they are guided along the proper path to enhance their potential to learn more," explained Lorna.


Ms. Lagarde recently retired from the National Capital Area Joint Task Force as chief of pharmacy at Dilorenzo Tricare Health Clinic-Pentagon (DTHC-PNT). In her role she was responsible for serving 90,000 patients, from private-rank soldiers to the commander-in-chief.


"I always designate the donations I give to Jill's House 'for military kids'," continued Lorna. "I may sound biased to the military but yes, it is true, I am. The freedom that I am enjoying now has been paid with a high price by those who served and those serving now. For me it is with great satisfaction to give back a little to their families, and giving to Jill's House is one way to do that.

"Unless you have personally dealt with or worked with those die-hard military patriots you can't empathize with me. I remember the anguished face of an officer in the Rx waiting room who just received orders to command a unit. All the lives of his young soldiers would be in harm's way. Or the general officer, who was very sick and could hardly carry himself out of the outpatient clinic, yet could not wait to return to his office since so many lives in the combat zone were in his hands. On September 11, 2001, the soldiers on my staff asked my blessings to go inside the burning Pentagon building to save lives. They waded in the hot, black stream of water coming from the firefighters to bring medical supplies and volunteered to be on duty to help out with patients 24 hours a day following the attack. These brave men and women have so much on their minds. Imagine those who are also raising children with special needs. That is why I give to Jill's House."

Editor's Note:  Ms. Lagarde, a native of the Philippines, started her career at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and is a trained opera singer who is commissioned to sing in an official government capacity in Department of State, National Guard and U.S. Capitol celebrations and opening conferences.  We are honored to have Ms. Lagarde as part of the Jill's House family.

To learn more about supporting the families Jill's House serves, visit or give online.


Back to top. 

Lisa's servant heart for her country pours into the lives of the Jill's House children.
Air Force retiree Lisa Colgan shares how she receives more than she gives by serving at Jill's House.

"I have been involved in the Air Force my entire life," said Lisa Colgan, a volunteer at Jill's House, "first as a child of a father in the Air Force and then in my own 21-year career. I continue to work for the Department of Defense on the Joint Staff and love serving to protect and defend our country. But in the end, I know my service has given me so much more than I have given.

"I feel the same way when I serve at Jill's House. The first day I served I was paired with a special little girl who enjoyed playing on the playground, making arts and crafts and just being with me. At the end of the day I was rewarded with a piece of her artwork which she made for me to take home. My three hours during that first shift confirmed I made the right choice to serve at Jill's House. As with the military, I signed up to help others. But in the end, I was rewarded even more. 

"I also volunteer in the pool. I love seeing the children -- even those who don't want to interact with other people -- have a great time in the water. I can't help but think the children in wheelchairs must truly love the feeling of weightlessness provided as we help them float around the pool. 

"Just as the military protects our country, Jill's House is a place where children and their families can feel safe. The children have experiences for the very first time at a place where they are cared for and honestly loved!  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve."

To learn more about opportunities to serve at Jill's House, visit or call 703.639.5660.

Intern Christine Coleman returned to Jill's House this summer to help children gain independence and show them how much they are loved.

Jill's House internship program helps student identify career path and learn what matters most.

The Jill's House internship program offers undergraduate students an opportunity to spend a summer caring for the children we serve. Our interns help us serve more families while gaining valuable experience in disability ministry that prepares them for their professional careers. We launched this competitive program in June, 2012. We hosted four interns that first summer and ten interns in the summer of 2013. This summer we have 13 interns serving us from 13 schools across the country. Mary Leidy, the director of our internship program said, "Our goal is to help develop a generation of professionals who love Jesus and children with special needs."

This summer we welcomed back Christine Coleman, an intern who also served our children last summer.  She recently shared with us how Jill's House has impacted her career plans, and her life:

"Not only has my internship at Jill's House helped me figure out my career, it has impacted my life spiritually. It has taught me who God desires us to be. Most of the children we serve seem to always be smiling, and you can see Him smiling through them. 


"One day a little girl looked up at me and asked 'What is love?  How do I show my love?'  She has it right. She asked me that question four or five times that day. Why don't I ask myself that question more often? That is why I decided to serve as a Jill's House intern again this year. I was impacted spiritually and wanted more time to show the kids how much they are loved.

"I am currently studying early childhood and special education at Eastern University, just outside of Philadelphia. When I served as an intern at Jill's House last summer, I realized how much I love teaching the kids life skills and independence. It's such a blessing to see the kids have fun, develop social interactions and participate in recreational activities they wouldn't normally have. A
s a result, I decided to change my focus from education to occupational therapy. 

"I wanted to learn more, so I returned to Jill's House for another internship this summer. I also shadow occupational therapists at a local clinic and have learned so much about how they encourage the kids to critically think about decisions and how to interact with peers. This has helped me immensely in helping to encourage the kids at Jill's House to be more involved in their interactions. It's important for those who can to initiate on their own. For example, this week I asked the children in my care if they had any ideas about how to play on the moon bounce. Instead of just jumping up and down, they came together and decided they wanted to form different letters with their bodies. I never would have thought of that, and it was so much fun!

"Jill's House has been such a blessing to me. Through my service here God has given me clear direction regarding where He wants to take me, and He has also given me the gift of knowing these amazing kids who have taught me what it really means to love each other."


Back to top.

Jill's House dad Gary Woodlin shares how Jill's House spiritually supports him after the death of his wife.
Mark your calendars for August 8! Jill's House to be featured on Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club.

Tune in to nationally syndicated The 700 Club on August 8 to learn how Jill's House supports families raising children with intellectual disabilities through respite and spiritual support.  

The 700 Club is one of the longest-running television broadcasts in history. First airing in 1966, The 700 Club reaches a million viewers across the United States, and is sent via satellite around the globe, with an estimated international audience in the tens of millions. 

"We praise God for the opportunity to share the message of Jill's House and the growing need for respite with an international audience," said Cameron Doolittle, president and CEO of Jill's House. "Our vision is to provide Jill's House services in 20 cities by the year 2020. The 700 Club will help create awareness for the challenges families raising children with special needs face, and the solution that Jill's House offers."

The program featuring Jill's House will be broadcast in the Washington, D.C. market on the ABC Family Channel at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Friday, August 8. To learn more and check your local listings, please visit where you can also watch the episode live at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on August 8.

Join Team Jill's House and make a difference for children with special needs.
Only a few spots are left! Sign up NOW for Team Jill's House Marine Corps Marathon or 10K and support the families Jill's House serves.

Join Team Jill's House on Sunday, October 26 for the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K Run. Come together with people who love the families Jill's House serves to raise funds to keep marriages strong and families together.

The fundraising goal for marathoners is $1,250 and $750 for 10K runners. Together, Team Jill's House hopes to raise $50,000 to serve our courageous families and their inspiring children.
Team Jill's House Marine Corps Marathon
Watch the 2013 Team Jill's House video and get inspired!
Sign up today! We have spots for both marathoners and 10K runners, but they are going fast. Registration deadline is August 6 at midnight, when any remaining marathon slots will be released.

For more information, visit, contact Claire Waldrop at or call 703.639.5699.

What Families Are Saying

"Thank you for making a wonderful weekend possible! We were able to enjoy a long weekend of pomp and celebration with our other children as my husband received his doctorate degree. We were free to be flexible and spontaneous as fun opportunities presented themselves. Our daughter would have been miserable and stressed on a weekend like this, and we would not have been able to attend even half of the festivities we enjoyed. Instead, she had a fun-filled weekend at Jill's House, the place she likes most, second to home. Out of your 1-10 scale, I wish I could rate you all an 11!"

Upcoming Events
Sunday, October 5

Once each year Jill's House is open to the public. Even if you have toured the building before, bring a friend to introduce them to the miracle of Jill's House.

Monday, October 13

This year's premier golf event will be held at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. Be inspired and have a great day of fun while helping families raising children with special needs. 

Sunday, October 26

Spaces are going fast! Register today to join Team Jill's House and raise funds to support courageous families and their special children.

For a complete listing of events, visit, email or call 703.639.5670.
Do You Know Any Great Nurses?

Jill's House currently has openings for part-time registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). We are looking for nurses who feel a particular call from God to work with children with special needs and to love them as Jesus does. Applicants must have a demonstrated track record of professional excellence. For full job description and requirements, please visit our employment page at

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our videos on YouTube

Jill's House | 703-639-5660
PO Box 9104
McLean, VA 22102

CFC #22742 - United Way #8244