AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — According to Judi Ann Griese Institute research, 89,000 Colorado children or one in 14, will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the age of 18.
There is a place where children and their families can go in the Denver metro area to receive counseling and help to cope with the loss of a loved one. It’s called Judi’s House and they have a brand new location.
Former Denver Broncos quarterback Brian Griese experienced many wins and losses in his career. But one loss has stayed with him his entire life – the death of his mother Judi when he was only 12 years old.
“He talks about that time in his life as feeling very alone. Like not realizing that there were other kids in the world who also had a similar death-loss experience,” Jessica Maitland Mayo, Judi’s House CEO said.
That is why Griese founded Judi’s House in Denver, a place where kids and families can go for help. The brand new location in Aurora is slated to open on Aug. 27.
“Anyone who has a grieving child in their family, any grieving child, can access our services free of charge,” Mayo said.
Ten-year-old London Essel experienced a loss as well, his sister Adrienne took her own life.
“We were pretty close, yeah,” London said.
London was close to his big sister Adrienne, and moving forward in her absence is hard.
“This is my life, every day. And for the rest of our life,” Katie Essel, London’s mother said.
The finishing touches on the new Judi’s House are almost done.
“We purposely built light, airy therapy spaces. We have imaginative play areas,” Mayo said.
The new 26,000-square-foot facility cost $16.8 million to build and is, by design, to help families through an unthinkable journey.
Some say Judi’s House is one of Griese’s greatest wins.