We’ve compiled a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions about Jill’s House. If your question is not answered, please contact us by email or phone. We look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you have about the respite we offer families raising children with intellectual disabilities.
WHAT: Jill’s House is a full-service, overnight respite center that renews families through much needed breaks while providing a safe, fun environment that celebrates children with intellectual disabilities.
WHO: Jill’s House was founded by Lon and Brenda Solomon after they experienced the need for respite firsthand while caring for their daughter Jill, who has a severe seizure disorder. Church members from McLean Bible Church in McLean, Va. offered the gift of overnight respite at a time when the Solomon family desperately needed it. Knowing there must be thousands of other families in need of support and rest, the vision for Jill’s House was born.
While the idea for Jill’s House was originally planted and supported at McLean Bible Church in McLean, Va., the organization has grown into a separate, 501(c) 3, not-for-profit organization. Led by President and Chief Executive Officer Cameron Doolittle, Jill’s House was created and is maintained through individual donations and foundation grants and receives no direct state or federal funding.
HOW: Jill’s House provides overnight and day programs to children with special needs ages 6 to 17 and their siblings.
Jill’s House prepares a customized, safe and entertaining program for each child and can accommodate up to 45 children per night with a 1:2 ratio of trained and qualified staff to children.
The 42,000 square-foot, 45-bed, innovative resort-style facility is designed to provide a safe, inviting environment in which children with intellectual disabilities experience activities specifically designed to keep them active, stimulated, learning and entertained.
In turn, their parents and caregivers are able to build a rhythm of respite into their lives, allowing room to recharge so they can be their best selves as parents and spouses.
WHY: There are 2.8 million families in the U.S. who have at least one child with special needs (US Census Bureau, 2010). These families are often overwhelmed by the emotional and financial demands of constant care and are in desperate need of relief. Additionally, children with intellectual disabilities usually do not have opportunities to have sleepovers, attend camps, go to birthday parties or take part in other activities that most kids take for granted.
To families with children with special needs, there is no greater gift than time to simply recharge their batteries and catch up on life, secure in the knowledge that their child with special needs is safe and cherished.
COST: Jill’s House relies on hundreds of trained volunteers to help keep the costs down for families. While a child’s overnight stay, complete with specialized medical care, costs Jill’s House roughly $600, most families contribute as little as $3 per hour per child.
RESULTS: Since its launch in 2010:
-Over 500,000 hours of rest and relief have been provided to weary parents through overnight programs and day camps.
-1,500 families have started the intake process. There are hundreds of children on our waiting list, and a new family registers every day.
-More than 500 families have experienced the rest and relief Jill’s House provides.
-Parents have rated their experience with Jill’s House as a 9.95 on a scale of 1-10.
STAFF: Jill’s House staff consists of more than 120 full- and part-time employees supplemented by an army of 1,000 active volunteers. Under the supervision of a medical director, licensed nurses are available to attend to all of the children’s medical needs around the clock.
WHERE: Jill’s House is headquartered in Vienna, Va. and serves families in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, California, Arizona, Texas, Indiana, and Washington state. Visit Jill’s House online at JillsHouse.org, on Facebook at JillsHouse and on Twitter @Jills_House.