Integrated Living Opportunities officially launches website: ILOnow.org

Wednesday, March 1st, 2016

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog this week! We are so happy that you took the time to visit our blog today of all days, because we have some very special news: on behalf of the ILO board members, self-advocates, and participating families, we are very, very excited to announce that Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) has officially launched its website – www.ilonow.org.

The website has been the result of many weeks of hard work on the part of staff, board members, volunteers and participating family members. It is designed to achieve three goals. The first is to educate: we want visitors to learn about ILO, its vision, mission, and core values. Secondly, we want to inspire visitors to learn about intentional communities for adults with disabilities and to begin thinking about them as a possibility for their family member with special needs. Thirdly, we want to motivate; we would love visitors to the website get involved with our organization and networks of participating families.

If you are interested in learn more about ILO, or would like to take a “tour” of their new website, please join us!

ILO for New Visitors

If you are a new visitor to our website, then you probably haven’t heard about M&L’s non-profit, Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO). In short, ILO is a 501c3 certified charitable organization created with the objective of bringing together families, self-advocates, community groups, and organizations with the intention of establishing sustainable, integrated, intentional communities for adults with disabilities.

ILO’s vision is to provide individuals with disabilities the choice and opportunity to live, work, and play as fully respected members of a community that offers an array of supports and services designed to create and maintain a safe environment. We want this environment to promote independent living, employment, and recreational activities. ILO pledges to accomplish exactly that by working together to establish new cooperative communities and support arrangements that are person-centered, maximize self-direction, and fully support community integration, participation and inclusion.

Website Features

As mentioned above, the website was designed to achieve three goals: educate, motivate and inspire. As such, please see the breakdown of our website into different features that helps us to achieve these three goals:

Educate

Throughout the design process, the website developers were very careful to pay attention to features that would help to educate visitors about ILO. As a result, there are a number of different pages that provide readers with useful information. The Home Page, of course, provides a brief description of the organization and our mission. The About Us page describes the organization in a bit more detail, as well as provides the history of how ILO came to be. If you are interested in learning more about the people behind ILO, please visit our Meet the Board page, which contains bios and pictures of all of our board Members. For any questions about ILO that have not been addressed on either of these pages, check our FAQ – we have compiled a list of questions that we are often asked by new ILO participating family members.

If you are interested in learning more about special needs issues not directly related to living options or ILO, please visit our Resources page; we start by providing a list of ILO definitions. The page is then divided into categories (i.e. employment, advocacy, recreation) with links to other organizations or websites that contain useful information. Lastly, a ton of great information can be found by browsing through or signing up for our weekly blogs; each week we publish a post on a topic that is relevant to individuals in the special needs community. And, we invite readers to request blog topics – just email us with your request, and if we can make it happen, we will!

Inspire

The second goal we had as we built this website was to inspire readers and visitors to come up with their own vision of independent living and community life for their adult family members with special needs. In order to achieve this, we felt that we should include our vision, which can be found by visiting our The Future of ILO – Meet Pete and Darren page. This story is the hypothetical case study of two self-advocates transitioning to independence with the support of ILO. In other words, it is an example of how we see individuals with disabilities (future self-advocates) and their families building communities and lives for themselves.

We also felt that we would inspire readers by sharing with them how important we feel communities are to adults with disabilities; that’s why we created the Building Community page that discusses how community can positively impact the lives of individuals. We have also included a page that discusses ILO’s Community Pods, and the work that ILO participating families are doing to build ILO communities in D.C. and Germantown/Gaithersburg. Lastly, we share with readers valuable information on Community Partnerships – a keystone of our community building activities – in the hopes that it inspires readers to start thinking of partnerships that they can form in their own communities.

Motivate

The last goal of our website was to motivate visitors to get involved with ILO. We hope to achieve this by providing visitors with a list of Services that ILO provides, a webpage that talks about how we can help you help your adult family member with disabilities build a positive future for him or herself. We have also included the Get Involved page in our design, with information about how to begin the process of becoming an ILO participating family. Lastly, we have a webpage for Events, which will list all ILO social events, fundraising events, and training sessions for new families.

Would You Like More Information?

Again, thank you all so much for taking the time to visit our blog today! We hope that you will also take a moment to visit ILO’s new website, and perhaps sign up to receive their newsletter, which will feature weekly blogs, updates, information about ILO social and charitable events, and much more!

If you would like to read more about ILO, specifically how the organization has evolved from an idea, to a movement, to the organization it is today, please visit M&L’s ILO blog archive. If you have any questions about the organization, M&L, or any issues related to special needs financial and life planning please contact us! We would love to hear from you.

See you next week!

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