ILO’s April 15, 2020
Update:  Supporting Our
Self-Advocates During the Coronavirus Outbreak

ILO’s Self-Advocates are Movin’ & Groovin’!

We are so proud of how well our self-advocates are adjusting during this crisis.

This is not an easy time for any young adult living independently. But our communities are really stepping up to the plate.

On one of our team calls last week, one of our Community Builders said:

“The peer-to-peer connection is such an important part of the
support. They have come out of their comfort zones to help one another.”

That is exactly what we had hoped for when we initially started ILO and what our staff tries to facilitate on an ongoing basis.

Our Inclusive Activities

I can’t believe all that we have going on! We have transitioned quickly and well to our staff supporting our self-advocates virtually and we’ve also worked hard to give our self-advocates opportunities to socialize with each other virtually.

As I discussed in our last newsletter we have strongly recommended that ILO self-advocates participate in at least 3 ILO social activities weekly. These include:

  • Group Emotional Wellness Check-in
  • Weekly Virtual POD Meetings (with some life skills training)
  • Physical Activity (we are offering free yoga to ILO self-advocates throughout April).

Participating in these 3 activities weekly keeps everyone engaged, connected and balanced mentally, physically and emotionally. That is so important right now.

Can We Assist YOU?


During this ‘new normal’ ILO is here to help YOUR family and SELF-ADVOCATE in every way possible.

  • Overwhelmed and don’t know where to go for assistance?
  • Lost your support (day programs, etc.), and need alternatives?
  • Running out of ideas for dealing with social isolation?

ILO is here to help! Please reach out to me directly. Maedi Tanham Carney, ILO Executive Director at

Examples of Current Virtual ILO Activities

Group Emotional Wellness Check-In

The DC & Bethesda PODs Check-In!

We start with each SA describing what they did that day.

DC and Bethesda POD SAs are cooking, walking, attending other virtual events, watching movies and TV shows, exercising online, and virtually visiting with friends.

Then we learn a little more about each other with an ice breaker:

  • Our favorite emojis:  Happy Face, Smiley Face, and Wink Face
  • Our favorite actors:  Reese Witherspoon, Julie Andrews, Will Farrell, Scarlett Johansson and Zee Zori
  • What we would like to be
    famous for:
      Being a dog whisperer, being a chef or musician, being like Michael Jackson
  • Would we go home with an
    No, No, No, Maybe?
  • Our favorite music:  Country, Rock-N-Roll, Folk, Disco, R & B and Hip Hop
  • Our favorite sandwich:  tuna fish, PB&J, turkey, grilled chicken, roast beef, and meatball

Then we share:

ILO SAs are trying to stay connected to family, friends and activities virtually in order to lessen anxiety.

We talk about ways we can deal with those anxiety issues from day-to-day with solutions like deep breathing exercises, meditation or participating in yoga on a consistent basis.

Weekly Virtual POD Meetings

This week in our weekly Virtual POD meetings,ILO’s SAs explored Emergencies and Safety Kits

To view ILO’s Safety Module click here.

In DC/Bethesda:  We reviewed ILO’s Safety Module and discussed:

  • What Constitutes an Emergency
  • What to Do in an Emergency
  • The Basics of Safety Kits

Then, Ellie, one of ILO’s DC SAs showcased her Safety kit to the other SAs.


In Rockville:
The SA’s learned what to do in case of an emergency. As a group, we discussed what emergency resources we have in our homes and our communities. During the Zoom meeting, we were able to identify who to call in case of an emergency, how to prepare emergency kits, and what to do in case of a fire. The SA’s now know where to find emergency safety supplies in their homes. The SA’s stated that they felt more informed at the end of the safety meeting.

In Gaithersburg:  ILO Safety training was held on Saturday at 5:30 pm, and it was attended by four self-advocates.

It turned out to be quite interesting and the guys were engaged and participated attentively. The message was definitely well-absorbed by the self-advocates. And everyone had a few laughs in the process.

Physical Activity

ILO has gifted ILO self-advocates with free Sunday Virtual Yoga classes through April, provided by Create Calm professional instructors. Many of our self-advocates participate in this virtual event and are taking the time, and making the effort, to stay healthy!

In the Meantime . . . We Are Very Active

The Manatee Home Safari is an example of some of the extra virtual experiences we plan each week. Future virtual events will include: concerts, museum tours, national park tours, game nights, trivia nights, and other fun and engaging activities.

And…. We Celebrate!

Happy Birthday Elaine!

Elaine say thanks for the birthday wishes. She misses everyone!

Happy Birthday Maurine!

This celebration was before COVID-19.



Olive helps ease social isolation for ILO’s DC self-advocate Ellie Carney.

We thought Olive might have some words of wisdom for the rest of us as well, so we’ll be highlighting some of her adventures on ILO’s social media. Enjoy!

Calendar & RSVP Reminder

Please check the ILO website calendar for upcoming virtual events and for rescheduled events. As you can see we have a lot going on. This calendar is updated on a
weekly basis.

We have made the decision to postpone most of our special events to a later date in 2020 – this includes Social Sundays, Parent Presentations, Hike, Bike & BBQ (rescheduled for October 10), and our Beers and Cheers Fundraiser. We will announce new dates ASAP.

SPECIAL NOTE: Regarding Social Sunday Bowling Bowlero – we hope to be able to start Bowling Bowlero up again soon. It all depends on status of COVID-19.  

We have reserved Bowlero Bethesda for May, June and July 2020 dates, but as of right now these are TENTATIVE dates. Once we know for sure we will send out an email confirming new dates.­­

We Need Your Help Now! Will You Help Support ILO?

services that we provide to our self-advocates are largely funded by
fundraising events, and by donations. During this time we are not able to hold
these events. Please consider a donation to help us continue providing support!

 The CARE Act permits eligible individual taxpayers who do not itemize deductions to
take an above-the-line deduction of up to $300 for qualified charitable
contributions made during such taxable year, except for contributions to a
non-operating private foundation or to a donor advised fund.


If you are an ILO Community Group member, please be sure to JOIN ILO’s
Private Facebook Group to connect with other members.
ILOCommunity Group- Private

If you are not an ILO Community Group member, please go to: to learn more.

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