Impact Stories

We Are All Connected: Cody Henderson

January 25, 2023

Cody Henderson first became involved in Judi’s House in 2015 when he moved to Denver and was looking for volunteer opportunities. He had experienced the personal loss of his brother in 2001 and father in 2009 and wanted to be able to support children and families who were going through a similar experience. In addition to his involvement as a volunteer, Cody also donated to our Capital Campaign in support of creating our new building that can provide purposeful connection and healing to children and families as they navigate their grief journeys. We are so grateful for Cody’s commitment to Judi’s House and the impact that he has had on so many children and families during his time as a Companion Volunteer.

What has been your involvement with Judi’s House over the years?

I have served as a companion volunteer off and on for the last seven years. I try to do anything I can to support the lead Pathfinders facilitator and make the group function as best as possible. When you put six to eight adolescents together and try to get them to talk about the worst thing that’s ever happened to them, there is bound to be a wild one or two. I do my best to connect with them and preserve the group’s focus as much as possible.

More recently, my family was able to contribute to the capital campaign and Judi’s House graciously allowed us to name the entrance garden at the new building in honor of my mother, Cecelia, who passed away last year. I would often call her on my way home from Judi’s House to tell her how impactful each session was and it helped us to be grateful for the time we had with our own special people. My parents were determined individuals and worked hard to be successful in a small Massachusetts town. My sister and I are proud to see what they created come to Denver and make a difference in the lives of grieving families.

What spurred your initial interest in Judi’s House and when did you first become involved?

My parents inspired me with the myriad of ways they gave back to our community growing up. After moving to Denver, I was looking for volunteer opportunities and came across Judi’s House in 2015. I knew right away this was where I wanted to give my time. I lost my brother, Jacy, in 2001 and my father, Robert, in 2009 and had seen firsthand the ways loss can affect a family. My parents found great solace from Compassionate Friends, a support group for parents who have lost children. They made a number of lifelong friendships and became a beacon for other parents in the community who lost children. To have stumbled across an organization that was for children (and families) in similar situations, I was excited to see what it was all about.

Why do you choose to invest in Judi’s House?

To put it simply: there is a magic that happens within the walls of Judi’s House over the ten weeks of the Pathfinders group. So many children who lose someone end up stuck in a cycle of anger and sadness where their loss can become a lifelong excuse for why they haven’t reached their potential. Judi’s House gives these children and their caregivers the tools to move forward and focus on their future instead of the past. To see kids come out of their shell and find common ground and a safe space to share their experience is truly remarkable. It is also incredibly rewarding to be a part of, and I’m just a guy who gives three hours of my time weekly for a few months a year. The staff at Judi’s House are the real heroes of this organization. They give of themselves day in and day out and spend many nights giving up time with their own families to assist grieving families.

I’m also keenly aware that running an organization like Judi’s House requires an immense amount of fundraising. It’s a testament to Brian and Brook Griese that they have used their position in society in such a beneficial way for the community.  It’s amazing they are able to continually provide such a talented staff, feed every family four nights a week, and so much more. Furthermore, Judi’s House is no longer just a service for the people of the Denver metro area but has expanded to use everything they’ve learned over the last twenty years to benefit grieving children and families throughout the country. The core mission of Judi’s House never ends because there will always be families joining this “club” and like so many others connected to Judi’s House, I will continue to honor those we’ve lost by giving to Judi’s House in any way possible.

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