Big Moves: ILO Self Advocates Achieve Independent Living

 December 1, 2016
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hello everyone, and thanks for visiting our blog this week.

Today we are very excited to share some incredible news from our community building non-profit, Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO). (Note: For those of you that may not be familiar with ILO, it is a 501c3 non-profit organization that builds intentional communities for adults with disabilities in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area – for more information, please select Integrated Living Opportunities from our drop down box on the right-hand side of the webpage to read all of our blog posts about ILO.) On behalf of ILO, we are proud to announce that as of November 19th, 4 more self-advocates (with the support of their family members as well as ILO staff and volunteers) have officially achieved independent living! Here at M&L, we would like to take a moment to officially congratulate the self-advocates on this remarkable achievement. We are so very proud of all the hard work and preparation that went into this big move, and we wish the self-advocates – Robert, Matt, Shaun and Andrew – the best of luck in their new homes.

Today, in celebration of this news, we would like to share with you a blog from ILO that discusses the Big Move, including a written account of the Sheinberg’s (an ILO participating family) moving day experience as Marc and Reda helped their son Robert move into the Crossings.

The Big Move: Robert’s Story
By Reda Sheinberg

Four families along with four self-advocates (young adults with developmental disability) have worked together to establish an intentional community in a new apartment complex, The Crossings at Old Towne Gaithersburg in November 2016. The Gaithersburg families are members of the new non-profit Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO). ILO is providing the training and the organizational infrastructure to assist the families in the Gaithersburg/ Germantown group create this unique opportunity for these four self-advocates. With the ILO Board and family commitment, including a lot of hard work and even fun, the four Gaithersburg families made a commitment to ILO and to each other to have our self-advocates live independently in the community. To make this possible, ILO hired a part-time staff person to build a strong community with the four self-advocates. Each self-advocate will have personal supports as needed through a combination of family, hired support through private and government funding, and other support in the Community.

Our son, Robert, was the first to move-in to the Crossings on Nov 2nd. The move-in was the culmination of many months of work starting in Feb 2016 until they moved in. Robert’s move in date, November 2nd, was very hectic and wonderful all at the same time, after multiple delays in construction and slipped move-in dates. Our move-in started at 8:30am when Robert and Marc, his Dad, got to the Crossings and unloaded boxes and suit cases into one of the carts provided by the Crossings. Bargain Movers ably and swiftly moved all his furniture to his apartment. The movers were done before 10:00 a.m. and soon we were unpacking at Robert’s new apartment.

By noonish we were ready to break and walk over the Bridge in back of the parking garage connected to the Crossings, enjoy the view of Olde Towne Gaithersburg and head to lunch. Across the bridge, we headed to our favorite restaurant, Growlers, and treated Robert and Sherita (ILO’s first employee, our community builder) to lunch. It was well deserved after an early morning and lots of work by family, Sherita, and especially Robert.

Since Robert moved in on Nov 2nd, the other 3 self-advocates, Matt, Shaun and Andrew followed and they will continue to work with Sherita and all the families to settle-in and have many more successes individually and together.

Future Plans for ILO Intentional Communities and Self-Advocates

At ILO, board members, staff and volunteers have no plans to slow down! The recent success of the intentional community in Gaithersburg has only inspired them to work harder and grow  ILO intentional communities as quickly as possible. It is ILO’s mission to help as many adults with disabilities as possible live independently, integrated into an inclusive community, with the opportunity to lead a rewarding, fulfilling life.

In addition to the self-advocates that recently achieved independence, there are also a number of other self-advocates living independently in Bethesda, MD and D.C. ILO is also on track to see yet another self-advocate move into her own home in March of 2017. As a result of these incredible successes, ILO community pods are being created all across Maryland and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ILO’s Community Pod webpage, or contact them.

More Information

Thanks again for visiting our blog today. If you are interested in ILO’s community building work, please take a moment to browse through their website. To learn more about ILO intentional communities and how they can change the lives of individuals with disabilities, please visit the webpage Meet Pete and Darren – a hypothetical case study of two self-advocates transitioning to independence. The About Us page shares ILO’s mission, vision, and a history of the organization. Their Resource page contains a list of organizations, websites, and individuals that will provide important information on a number of issues relevant to the disability community. Last but not least – their Donate Page. By donating to ILO (all donations are tax deductible) you are helping adults with disabilities achieve independent living, and realize dreams.

If you are interested in joining ILO, or would like more information, please contact them! ILO staff are currently in the process of arranging New Futures Initiative™ training in the new year (potentially March/April) and  would love to have you on board! Email for more information.

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