ILO Update Seminar: Register Now to Learn about Integrated Living Opportunities

 August 26, 2016
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog this week! We are so happy that you could take the time out of your busy schedules to visit our website.

Today we would like to share an exciting event that M&L’s community building non-profit, Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO), has scheduled for September 27 from 7:00-9:00 pm. Come Learn About Integrated Living Opportunities is an opportunity to learn important information about the growing organization, including a brief history, a discussion of values and mission, and an update on progress so far as well as their future goals.

Are you interested in learning more about ILO, and perhaps attending their upcoming seminar? Below we have shared ILO’s blog post discussing the seminar, as well as providing some excellent background info on the founding of their organization, what they have achieved so far, and how they plan to tackle the future. Please read on to learn more!

ILO: A History

ILO is a non-profit organization devoted to helping families with special needs build intentional, integrated communities that enable safe, productive, independent living options for their young adults with developmental disabilities. ILO was founded by Maedi Tanham Carney, CFP®, CWIC, owner and founder of M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC, and a group of core participating families (affectionately referred to as the “founding families”).

The idea for ILO grew from a need expressed in the special needs communities of Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The individuals in these communities, along with their families, expressed the desire for independent living options that were inclusive, sustainable, affordable, and – above all – community based. Carney, in her capacity as special needs planner and also as a parent of a young adult with disabilities, began looking for independent living opportunities that fit those expressed needs.

After extensive research into many different programs from across the country, she came across Center for Independent Futures®, and their Community Living Option™ residences. Carney visited these residences and experienced first-hand the relationships and community partnerships that Center for Independent Futures® was creating for the individuals that lived there. After seeing how successful Center for Independent Futures® community building work has been in Illinois and across the country, Carney decided that this was the type of independent living option that was so desperately needed in the Washington, D.C. and Maryland areas.

Together with the five founding families, Carney travelled to Evanston, Illinois to take part in the New Futures Initiative™ training. From that experience grew a partnership with Center for Independent Futures®, and the commitment on the part of Carney and the five founding families to create independent living options for their young adults in their own neighborhoods. Finally, from that commitment grew ILO – a non-profit organization that would facilitate the development of intentional, integrated communities for young adults with disability in the Washington, D.C. and Maryland areas.

Currently, ILO is an IRC Section 501c3 non-profit organization incorporated in Washington, D.C. ILO’s network of support is 16 families strong, with most of the participating families and self-advocates residing in Montgomery County, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

ILO: What We Do and What We Plan To Do

As written above, ILO is a community building non-profit that works to help adults with disabilities create and live full, inclusive, integrated lives in a community of their choice, according to their personal hopes and dreams. We have a number of different strategies that we have adopted to help us achieve this goal. The first and foremost is to offer participating families access to the training, resources, tools and support for them to establish independent living options for their self-advocates.

The ILO staff work with the participating families to create intentional communities – community pods – that the self-advocates can integrate into. Another strategy is to facilitate networks of support that surround these advocates in the present, into the future, and for the entirety of their lives.

Currently, we have successfully helped a number of ILO self-advocates achieve their independent living dreams, and are on track for another four self advocates to achieve this goal this coming October. The self-advocates, all young men, will be moving into an affordable apartment complex in Gaithersburg, Maryland. This move will be the foundation of the Gaithersburg Community Pod.

Pods with independently-living self advocates have already been established in Germantown, MD and ILO staff, volunteers and participating families are working hard to establish additional intentional communities in Washington, D.C., Bethesda MD and Silver Spring, M.D. (Note: if you are interested in learning more about intentional communities and our community pods, please visit our Building Community webpage for more information.)

Additionally, ILO is proud to announce that we have recently welcomed on board a Community Builder. This employee will be tasked with creating a sense of community among ILO self advocates and in their immediate neighborhood (beginning in the Gaithersburg, Maryland area) and assisting the participants to develop independent living skills in a one-on-one or small group setting. ILO has also recruited a Director of Development to help ILO’s CEO with fundraising and targeting major donors, foundations and grants. We are very excited with this progress, and will be introducing our new employee(s) at the seminar.

Over the next few months, ILO will be working to host a number of small fundraising events, and will continue to seek online donations. We anticipate that we will host our first major fundraiser in the early months of 2017. We encourage anyone and everyone interested in our organization and willing to help with these events, and the day-to-day tasks of the organization, to contact us. The backbone of any community is its volunteers, and we look forward to welcoming new faces and growing our networks of support. Please stay tuned to this blog for more information regarding future events, and contact us ( for more information or to offer your support.

ILO Seminar: Why You Should Attend (and How to Register)

It is impossible to have too much information about the possibilities that exist for adults with disabilities who want to live independently and integrate into their community. ILO helps participating families design independent living options that suit the unique needs and challenges of their personal special needs journey. Families struggling with the traditional living options that exist may be inspired by our highly individualized approach. One of the most important characteristics of our organization is the ways in which we facilitate networks of support – personal and professional – and build a support team.

Perhaps the most important reason: to attend the seminar is the opportunity to meet some current participating families and ILO employees. If you would like personal, first hand accounts of how ILO is changing lives for the better, and would like to meet the people behind this organization, then this is the event for you. The seminar is free, and we ask for a small donation at the time of registration or when you attend on September 27.

If you are interested in attending this event, please follow this link to complete the registration process. Just to reiterate: the seminar will be taking place September 27, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Treatment and Learning Center in Gaithersburg, MD. We invite you to email if you have any questions or would like more information.

Thanks again for dropping by! We hope to see you in September.

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