ILO Needs Your Help – Volunteer Today!

 November 13, 2016
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

Hello everyone and welcome to our blog this week! We appreciate the time you spend browsing our website.

Today, we would like to take the opportunity to focus on the progress that M&L’s community building non-profit Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) has achieved as they strive to build integrated and inclusive communities for adults with disabilities. From all of us here at M&L and also ILO, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone that has helped ILO to develop, evolve, and make a difference in our communities.

We would also like to take the opportunity to share with you, our readers, ILO’s recent call for volunteers – ILO is growing, rapidly, and this incredible organization would love your help to ensure that that can continue to evolve and expand our networks of supports and services.

If you would like to learn a little more about the work that ILO does to build intentional, inclusive, integrated communities for adults with disabilities, please visit their About Us page. Otherwise, please read the following blog that we have shared from ILO’s website to learn about the many different ways you can make a difference in communities across the country.


ILO Volunteer Activities and Opportunities – Community Pods

At the time of writing, ILO staff, participating family members, board members and self-advocates are very busy building communities in different areas of Maryland and Washington, D.C. In fact, just this last week four ILO self-advocates either moved or began the process of moving into their own homes (more on this in a future blog).

In response to these rapidly growing communities, ILO volunteers are hard at supporting participating family members and self-advocates by establishing and expanding community pods in these areas, particularly Germantown and Washington, D.C. These pods – communities created by ILO members and self-advocates – have been created with the express purpose of connecting self-advocates to each other and the surrounding communities, and to build networks of support and connections on which self-advocates can draw in order to fully integrate into community life.

As of the time of writing, ILO board member Debbie Fickenscher heads the pod in Germantown/Gaithersburg. Debbie, as a participating family member and board member, works tirelessly to organize pod barbeques, group outings, and other social events in order to facilitate the growing networks of support and to foster connections between self advocates, their support teams, and community members. Maedi Tanham Carney, pod leader for Washington, D.C. (and ILO founder CEO and President), facilitates Friday night social clubs/cooking classes, in which self-advocates can relax, spend time with friends, and learn/review valuable independent living skills.

Both of these pods are very active and growing by the day! ILO would love the opportunity to welcome you to our volunteer team by either helping with these existing pod activities, starting a new own pod activity within our existing two pods, or by working to create a pod in your very own community. For more information or to learn how to volunteer, please contact us at We would love to hear from you!

Can’t Volunteer? Attend a fundraiser, or donate now!

Here at ILO, we understand that families with special needs are very busy – as parents of individuals with disabilities, we are very familiar with the demands placed on your time and resources. If you feel that you cannot commit to a volunteering on a consistent basis, never fear – there are still ways to help and support ILO. Recently, we hosted our very first ILO “Fun”raiser, a night out at a local pub with some live music, drinks, and snacks. If you would like to support ILO by attending a future fundraising, event please take a moment to subscribe to our blog (right hand side of the page) or email us! We will ensure that you will be notified each time we host an event.

As well, we offer the opportunity for interested parties to donate directly to our efforts through our Donate Page – ILO is a 501c3 registered, non profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible. It is even possible to donate in the name of an existing self-advocate, and help that individual reach his or her personal fundraising goal.

If you would like to learn more about how your donation can help ILO achieve our goals, please take a moment to connect with us – we would love to share our mission and vision with you, and welcome you to our network of support.

ILO Can Help Your Family with Special Needs – Spread the Word!

Last (but not least), we encourage you to support ILO by spreading the word to your family, friends, and colleagues; a large part of our work involves educating families with special needs as to how an intentional communities offers the opportunity for adults with disabilities to live integrated lives, in inclusive communities fully connected to social, recreational, and employment opportunities. To do so, please pass on our website, or perhaps share a blog that your recently enjoyed. We also welcome the opportunity to publish posts on important topics in the special needs community, so if you or a family member, friend, etc. has a question we encourage that you contact us – we will do our best to research, answer, and post a blog in response.

Whenever and however you choose to support ILO, we welcome you – many hands make light work, and the larger our networks of support, the more connected and integrated are our self-advocates. We look forward to hearing from you!

Would you Like More Information?

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to visit our website today. We hope that we have inspired you to take a moment to consider how you can volunteer and enrich a community in your life, whether with ILO or some other worthy cause.

If you would like more information about how ILO works to build intentional, integrated, inclusive communities for adults with disabilities, please contact us! Or take a moment too browse the different pages on our website. Our page The future of ILO – Meet Pete and Darren in particular provides a great fictional scenario intended to disseminate a clear idea of how ILO communities function. As always, please reach out if you have any questions or would like to know how to join ILO. We would love to meet you and discuss your family’s unique special needs journey.

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