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Big Moves: ILO Self Advocates Achieve Independent Living

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hello everyone, and thanks for visiting our blog today. We are very excited and proud to share with you our incredible news: as of November 19th, 4 more ILO self-advocates (with the support of their family members as well as ILO staff and volunteers) have officially achieved independent living! On behalf of everyone at ILO, we would like to take a moment to officially congratulate our 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 our 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 the Sheinberg’s 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

Here at ILO, we have no plans to slow down! The recent success of the intentional community in Gaithersburg has only inspired us to work harder and grow our ILO intentional communities as quickly as we possibly can. It is our 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, we have a number of other self-advocates living independently in Bethesda, MD and D.C. We are 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 our Community Pod webpage, or contact us.

More Information

Thanks again for visiting our blog today. If you are interested in ILO and our community building work, please take a moment to browse through our website. To learn more about ILO intentional communities and how they can change the lives of individuals with disabilities, please visit our webpage Meet Pete and Darren – a hypothetical case study of two self-advocates transitioning to independence. The About Us page shares our mission, our vision, and a history of our organization. Our 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 – our Donate Page. By donating to ILO (all donations are tax deductible) you are helping us help adults with disabilities achieve independent living, and realize dreams.

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

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