No Child Should Be Alone in Grief – Judi’s House Is the High 5 Plumbing Cares Spotlight
During the month of September, we’ll be spotlighting the transformative work of our latest High 5 Plumbing Cares nonprofit recipient, Judi’s House/JAG Institute. Their commitment to serving children and families grieving a death loss is unwavering, and we’re honored to support them in the restorative, profoundly life-altering work they do each day.
What is Judi’s House, and Who Do They Serve?
In 2002, former Denver Broncos Quarterback Brian Griese and clinical child psychologist Dr. Brooke Griese founded Judi’s House in honor of Brian’s mom, Judi, who died of breast cancer when he was just 12 years old.
Since its inception, Judi’s House has provided free grief care to more than 11,000 children and caregivers. The mission of Judi’s House is to help children and families grieving a death find connection and healing. The team of staff and volunteers there is spurred on by their vision that no child should be alone in grief.
Judi’s House is set apart as “the only free-standing organization in the Metro Denver area devoted solely to supporting grieving children and their families through a whole-family approach.”
The need for services like those offered at Judi’s House is, unfortunately, incredibly common. According to the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model, a tool developed by Judi’s House research arm, the Judith Ann Griese (JAG) Institute, one in 14 children will experience the death of a parent or a sibling by the time they reach age 18.
High 5 Plumbing Cares co-founder Cassi Torres sat down with Judi’s House CEO Jessica Maitland Mayo to learn more. Jessica understands the need for Judi’s House services personally when seven years ago, she and her children turned to the organization after the sudden death of her husband of 20 years.
The Judi’s House Approach
At Judi’s House, families and children receive the support they need to move through the trauma of a death loss in the most healthy way possible. The grief-focused and trauma-informed approach at Judi’s House helps children, parents, and caregivers to develop the coping skills and resilience they need to adjust to their loss and prepare for future challenges.
Judi’s House offers direct services for adults and children ages 3 to 25, including counseling, group therapy, and a number of play-based therapies utilizing art, theatre, physical activity, sensory experiences, and more.
Take a tour of the beautiful spaces at Judi’s House, and learn more about their important work in the video below.
Learn more about Comprehensive Grief Care® and what makes Judi’s House different here.
In addition to grief support services, Judi’s House also offers school and community resources, as well as training and education for individuals and professionals alike in an effort to build communities that are grief-minded and responsive to the needs of the bereaved.
How is Judi’s House responding to COVID-19?
Because Judi’s House offers critical mental health services to families in need, they are considered an essential service. At no point did they stop services because of COVID-19; they simply pivoted to a telehealth and video health model.
COVID-19 has brought with it enormous amounts of change, trauma, and uncertainty for children and their families. Some children have lost loved ones, but many more are finding it difficult to cope with this “new normal,” even if we adults know it will eventually get better. They miss their friends and their teachers. They ask if their favorite libraries, museums, playgrounds, and restaurants “are open yet.”
Judi’s House has assembled a wonderful collection of resources to help parents and caregivers support children in managing the pandemic’s impact, including:
- Helping Children with Traumatic Separation or Traumatic Grief-Related to COVID-19
- Toolkit for Adults to Help Children Cope with COVID-19
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 – A Parent Resource
- Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreak
- Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parent, and Teachers During Infectious
- Disease Outbreaks
What Others are Saying About Judi’s House
In 2019 alone, Judi’s House served 960 grieving children, as well as 680 parents and caregivers. (You can learn more about their outcomes here.)
Here’s what folks are saying about the impact of Judi’s House on children and families in our community:
“I can tell you that Judi’s House gave me skills — like being able to recognize, express, and cope with grief, and then find hope, and know that I can heal. That healing allowed me to grow, and I’ve been able to push myself and do so many things since my mom died — all because I know that I can work through something really hard.”
— Former Judi’s House client
“Going to Judi’s house was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As a 21-year-old suffering a major loss it was hard to find a helpful space to grieve. I was too old for the pediatric groups but the adult groups didn’t fit me either. Having a space to process the loss with other people that understood the thousands of feelings you will experience in any given day was instrumental […] Surrounding yourself with people who have had similar experiences is incredibly helpful. The staff at Judi’s house are kind and thoughtful. They are supportive without being pushy and are effective facilitators of group therapy. I would not be the person I am today without their support.”
— Former Judi’s House client
Hear directly from former clients, Bria and Deneen Stone, in the video below.
“Judi’s House is a wonderful example of the value of providing preventative services to youth in need in our community. These programs have a profound impact on the futures of hundreds of children every year. They are preventing countless negative outcomes in kids by building healthy coping skills that will help them the rest of their lives.”
— Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver
Why Did High 5 Plumbing Cares Choose Judi’s House as Its September Recipient?
Connection is central to the mission of Judi’s House, just as it is with High 5 Plumbing and our commitment to make our community and the world a little better each day through connection.
“We choose Judi’s House as the September High 5 Plumbing Cares spotlight nonprofit because of how well they connect and support our neighbors and community members who are grieving,” says High 5 Plumbing Cares co-founder and High 5 Plumbing co-owner Cassi Torres.
“As a family-run company, we understand that at some point in life, every one of us will need resources like Judi’s House as we grieve a loss. We were blown away by all they do for children and their families. Around High 5 Plumbing, the family is huge. It’s #1. So supporting Judi’s House w
How Is High 5 Plumbing Supporting Judi’s House?
High 5 Plumbing Cares is honored to support the critical, life-changing work of Judi’s House in a number of ways, throughout September and beyond.
- We’ll provide every High 5 Plumbing client served during the month of September with info on Judi’s House and our support of their mission, including a brochure from Judi’s House.
- We’ll be promoting Judi’s House right here on our blog and on social media throughout the month.
- Every time you buy a hat or t-shirt from our High 5 Plumbing online shop during September, we’ll donate $4 to Judi’s House.
- As is the case with all our High 5 Plumbing Cares recipients, we’ll deliver a donation check to Judi’s House at the end of the month.
- When you purchase a High 5 Plumbing Club Membership during September, we’ll donate $10 in your honor to Judi’s House.
- We’ll also give back 1% of the revenue generated from the High 5 Plumbing Colorado truck during the month of September. That goes directly to Judi’s House.
We’re privileged to support Judi’s House in its mission to provide grieving children and families the resources, support, and care they need to cope with grief and adjust to the monumental pain of losing a loved one.
How Can I Support Judi’s House?
Judi’s House supports grieving children and families at absolutely no cost to them. The care and healing at Judi’s House are made possible by the generosity of its volunteers and donors.
You can support Judi’s House in a variety of ways. Here are a few:
- Connect families you know with Judi’s House
Do you know a child or family who has suffered the loss of a loved one? Please point them to Judi’s House. No child should be alone in grief, and no parent or caregiver should be, either.
- Consider volunteering
Judi’s House has a variety of volunteer opportunities to engage the community in the work they do. While COVID-19 has changed the look and feel of some programs, they are always looking for helping hands.
- Become a donor
Judi’s House has “an immediate need for donations during this critical time to provide Comprehensive Grief Care® to grieving children in our community.” You can give the gift of connection and healing to a child or family in need today. Donate to Judi’s House/JAG Institute today.
- Other ways to support Judi’s House
Workplace giving, in-kind donations, and hosting fundraisers are just a few other ways you can support Judi’s House. Learn more here.
Here’s what one recent volunteer had to say:
“The staff, interns, and fellow volunteers are wonderful, and I learn something new from each and every one of them. This house is special, and it is very apparent that everyone who walks through the front door knows this too.”
— Judi’s House Volunteer Lisa Dubois
Learn more about the volunteer opportunities at Judi’s House here.
Additionally, you can spread the word about the work Judi’s House is doing by telling family and friends!
And you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!
To learn more about Judi’s House, visit judishouse.org.
Can I Nominate a Nonprofit I Love for High 5 Plumbing Cares?
If you’d like to nominate a nonprofit you care about, you can submit your nomination right here on the High 5 Plumbing Cares page. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and fill out the form that looks like this:
As always, thanks for your support of High 5 Plumbing Cares. We look forward to hearing about the organizations around town that you care about and would like us to spotlight!