Sunday, December 13th 2015
Hello everyone, and welcome to ILO’s very first, official weekly blog! Thank you all so much for visiting our website, we hope that you are well on your way to understanding how our organization can create intentional, integrated communities for adults with disabilities.
Today, seeing as how it is our very first blog, we would like to take the opportunity to share with you a little bit more about our organization, including a history of how it came to be, the vision we have for ILO, and the steps that we plan to take to ensure that we can help to positively impact the futures of young adults with disabilities, please join us!
What is Integrated Living Opportunities?
Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) is a 501c3, non-profit organization that was founded by Maedi Tanham Carney CFPA, CWIC and the first core group of five participating families’ affectionately referred to as the founding participating families. From the very beginning, the objective of Carney and these families was to bring family groups together to establish integrated, sustainable and inclusive communities for their family members with disabilities (self-advocates) through the use of community partnerships.
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.
How did ILO Come to Be?
ILO as an organization grew from a need expressed in the special needs communities of Washington, D.C. and Maryland for inclusive, community based living options for adults with disabilities.
The story of the creation of ILO begins with ILO Founder, President and CEO Maedi Tanham Carney, CFP®, CWIC. Carney, through her personal experience as a parent of a young adult with special needs and her professional capacity as a special needs planner, noticed that her own desire to have independent, inclusive, community-based living options for her daughter with special needs was echoed by many other families that she encountered on a daily basis.
Inspired by this need, Carney began to look into the different living options available across the country. After extensive research, 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 now in other locations across the country, Carney became convinced that this was the perfect option for her daughter, as well as other young adults with disabilities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Carney then approached Center for Independent Futures and became the official East Coast representative for their New Futures Initiative program, a training program that teaches family groups how to create communities and community partnerships for individuals with disabilities. From this working relationship grew ILO, a network of parents of young adults with disabilities, seeking to support each other with the goal of creating full lives for our family members in an integrated and inclusive community. (Note: to read the history of ILO in full, please visit the About Us page.)
What Does ILO do?
To begin, it is important to understand that ILO is not a housing or service provider. ILO is a framework that holds all the components of independent, community-based living together.
Under the umbrella of ILO, parents/caregivers will undergo training that allows them to form community partnerships and create communities for their loved ones with special needs; ILO helps to facilitate the support networks necessary to see this community creation through from start to finish. ILO will guide parents through the process of acquiring services and supports necessary for their child to live independently, and provide support and recreational/social activities for their children while they live independently. ILO will also support these individuals after their parent/caregivers are gone, by continuing to facilitate the networks of personal support that each individual brought with them to ILO.
Would you like more information?
Thank you all so much for visiting our blog today! We hope that you are a little more familiar with ILO and our dreams for the future of our self-advocates and participating families. If you would like to learn more about ILO, please take a moment to browse around our website, or contact us. We would love to have you join the ILO team.
Note: Center for Independent Futures name and trademarks used with permission.