Thursday, June 22, 2017
Hello everyone, and welcome to our blog. Today, we are proud to announce that Integrated Living Opportunities is growing: last week (June 15 & 16, 2017) ILO hosted the first phase of another successful training session. Five new families and self-advocates have joined the ILO community and have officially begun their journey to build supported communities for adults with disabilities. We would like to extend a big ILO welcome to our new families. We would also like to extend our thanks to Jen Knapp, who facilitated the ILO training.
ILO training is a crucial first step in becoming a part of the ILO community. It is during these training sessions that families learn about ILO as an organization. Participants learn about our mission to build supported, integrated and inclusive communities in which self-advocates can live full, independent lives. Participants are introduced to key ILO concepts such as community pods, community partnerships, intentional communities, and discuss how to begin to build networks of support.
ILO Training: Session 1
As mentioned, ILO training introduces new participating families to our organization. On the first day of training, ILO’s programs and guiding principles are discussed. Each family is also given ILO’s Participating Family Handbook, an important document that describes ILO and its services in detail.
The first day of the training was held at one of ILO’s first community pods: The Crossings, in Gaithersburg, MD. Four self-advocates live in independent apartments at The Crossings. Although the four young men have lived on their own, they did not know each other and in the past seven months, ILO’s Community Developer has helped them build a community among themselves, build connections with others in the building as well as with the wider community. So the first day of training at The Crossings provided new families with the opportunity to see a pod in action and to speak with the Community Developer and a self-advocate.
The families ended the first day of training with a visit to the apartment of another self-advocate living independently in Germantown, MD. The self-advocate in the Germantown apartment has a non-disabled roommate who serves as an emergency overnight presence. Both the Crossings and Germantown provided families with examples of independent living with a mix of supports and helped them envision possibilities for their own young adults.
ILO Training: Session 2
The second day of ILO training began with reflections about the first day of training. Questions were answered, concepts discussed and “ah ha” moments shared. The rest of the morning focused on community partnerships and how to build connections to community organizations so that self-advocates are integrated in, not just physically present in their communities. Tips on how to “build” this social capital were discussed.
The afternoon session focused on the variety of supports and services in DC and Montgomery County, MD. The second day of training wrapped up with a discussion of the “housing matrix.” Center for Independent Futures™ Community Living Option™ was used as an example of various housing models. Actual budgets of three ILO self-advocates living out of the family home were shared.
Become a Part of ILO’s Community – Upcoming Training Sessions and Fundraisers
If you are interested in learning more about ILO’s training session, or would like to become a participating family in ILO’s network please contact us. We would love to hear from you, and learn about the dreams you have for your family member with special needs. If you would like to learn more about ILO and our supported communities, please take a moment to browse our website. Our Meet Pete and Darren page in particular is an excellent resource, as it is a hypothetical scenario of a Full Life, using real people and places in the Washington, D.C. area.
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