ILO Insights

Ready, Set . . . Soon!

Maedi Tanham Carney
Founder & Executive Director, ILO

Some of us are ready to start moving forward but only with safeguards in place!

We know how important our personal support is to our self-advocates. We have always been there to listen, to guide, to commiserate, to celebrate. But it certainly hasn’t been easy during the pandemic.

We have all adapted to virtual interaction, some of us better than others. And, some of us have even flourished in the virtual world!

Now that some things are starting to open up some of our self-advocates have been asking when they can start meeting face-to-face with other ILO self-advocates, or in person with their designated ILO Community Builder.

Some have expressed concern about meeting face-to-face too quickly.

Taking all that into consideration, beginning in late-July, ILO’s Community Builders have agreed to start meeting one-on-one with self-advocates who request a face-to-face meeting.

First and foremost is the health and safety of our self-advocates, our staff and all of ILO’s families. We are taking this very seriously and cautiously, but we believe with some guidelines in place we can start moving forward – but only for those who want to!

If there are one-on-one interactions, they will take place primarily outdoors, with all individuals wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

We will also start looking for opportunities for small group activities, adhering to the same standards (outdoors as much as possible, everyone wearing masks, with social distancing in place).

ILO Guidelines for Meeting Face-to-Face:

  • NO ONE is required to meet face-to-face if they are not comfortable doing so, or, if there is the possibility they are sick, or have been around someone who is sick.

  • ILO staff reserves the right to decline a face-to-face meeting if they don’t feel safe in doing so either for themselves, or for the self-advocate they plan to meet with.
  • If participants do not adhere to the safety standards they may be asked to leave, or ILO’s Community Builder may end the meeting.
  • ILO reserves the right to change or suspend any activity based on local, state, or national policies or changes in the overall health and safety of the community environment.
  • EVERY SELF-ADVOCATE (and/or their guardian/parent if necessary) must read, understand, and sign a NEW ILO EVENT POLICIES AND WAIVER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY FORM ( which includes new ILO policies related to public health guidelines before participating in any ILO face-to-face activity, event, or meeting. I need your help making sure every ILO self-advocate and participating family member reads, understands and signs this new form. Please help us keep everyone safe!

If you have any questions or concerns please contact me directly at:

We are excited about being able to take a step forward – if only a baby step. Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

Current FOCUS

Moving Forward: Late July – August


Status for July 26 – August 31
(pending signed waivers)

Daily Check-Ins (Gaithersburg only

Will continue as Facetime, Zoom, or phone calls, based on the preference of the self-advocate.

Weekly Group Check-In

Will continue as a virtual Zoom meeting.

Weekly Group Life Skills Training/Discussions

Will continue as a virtual Zoom meeting.

Weekly Physical Exercise

(Yoga on Sundays, Strength-Building on Thursdays)

Will continue as virtual Zoom activities, for free, through July and August.

Once a Month One-on-Ones

Can be either virtual or face-to-face as agreed upon by the self-advocate and ILO Community Builder.

Additional Small Group Activities (Virtual Safaris and Tours, Meditation Tuesday, Friday Fitness, Happy Hour, and ILO BINGO)

TBD – Check ILO’s Calendar (

ILO Social Sunday Bowling

Probably will not start back up until after the first of the year (January or February).

ILO 50-Mile Biking Fundraiser

Sunday, August 30 (safety precautions will be in place).

ILO Hike, Bike & BBQ

Saturday, October 10, 2020 (tentative – subject to change).

Beers & Cheers Fundraiser

Postponed until further notice.


August 30th – Save the Date!
Join Maedi Tanham Carney & Vijay D’Souza for
ILO’s Family 50 mile Biking Fundraiser


The ride is a 53-mile loop with 4 stops in
DC and Maryland in areas where ILO self-advocates live.

Each rest stop will be hosted by one of ILO’s Pods
with several volunteers. (Exact locations TBD)

Keeping It Small & Safe:

  • Masks and social distancing requested
  • Rolling starts for bikers
  • Limited contact at aid stations
  • Other precautions as appropriate

Ridership (full/closed)

Sign-Up to Volunteer

Donate – Please!



    ILO was recently one of 52 non-profit organizations nationwide to be awarded a grant from The Disability Opportunity Fund Cares program. 

    Priority focus areas included:  Education, Employment, Housing, Public Policy, and Socialization/Sports for disabled children and adults.

    Click here to read the Press Release and view other grantees.

    Be sure to check out our latest video: The Perfect Equation – ILO.

    It was designed to help motivate real estate developers in considering ILO self-advocates as potential and worthy tenants.

    The footage  provides a good understanding of the role ILO plays in ensuring  success for adults with developmental disabilities who are transitioning to independent living with the support of an ILO community.

    POD Recent Activities

    Next Installment of Joseph’s Transition to Independent Living

    Joseph is definitely adapting well to independent living and loving his new recliner!

    Joseph loves his new place, meeting the other self-advocates and hanging with them. However, he is ready to go back to work to be busy again.

    Honing Those Life Skills!

    With the help of Sandra, Joseph’s ILO Life Coach, and Janet, Joseph’s ILO Community Builder, he learns the fine art of cleaning his house.

    He and Sandra also worked to put together a realistic schedule to help him manage his time effectively.

    The Crossings – Making It Work with Masks and Social Distancing

    In the meantime . . . Janet, ILO’s Community Builder in Gaithersburg at the Crossings at Old Towne, gets with the guys to introduce herself and learn a little more about what they have going on. It’s an incredible group of young men!


    Exciting News for Adam!

    Out of thousands of applicants, one of ILO’s self-advocates, Adam, was selected as one of the new residents the Main Street complex currently under construction.

    ILO will continue providing support to Adam even after he moves into Main Street. So he and Sherita took a stroll a few blocks from his current home in the Fenestra to check out his new home at Main Street. Life is good! 

    COVID-19: We will not have any activities until it is safe to do so, and that may be quite a while, but in the meantime, we will continue to maintain our many digital activities, trainings, and emotional and personal support of ILO self-advocates and their families.

     Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease:


    • Stay home if possible

    • Wash your hands often.

    • Social distance yourself from others (stay 6 feet away – about two arm lengths).

    • Keep away from people who are sick.

    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

    • Call your doctor if you have concerns or if you are sick.

    Weekly Sessions

    FREE Virtual Yoga & Full Body Conditioning All Summer

    Thanks to our amazing DONORS we are offering ALL ILO self-advocates* FREE access to:

    Virtual Yoga

    Who:                Create Calm Instructors

    When:              Every Sunday through August 30th

    What Time:    1:30-2:15 pm

    How:                 Zoom (See the Calendar for more information)

    Full Body Conditioning
    (Includes activities like: Simon Says, Jumping Jacks, Sit-ups and Low Impact Cardio)

    Who:               Root Strong Fitness by Dean

    When:            Every Thursday through August 27th

    What Time:    3:00-4:00 pm

    How:               Zoom (See the Calendar for more information)

    *Participating self-advocates, or their families, must be members of the ILO Community Group and must sign a waiver before participation.

    Go to: for more info or to join the ILO Community Group.

    In the Know

    ILO’s Initiatives to Support CDC Guidelines for the Disabled during Social Integration

    NO Contact Rule

    ILO will require any staff person who has tested positive for COVID-19 to negatively pass two (2) COVID-19 tests before contact with any ILO participant, family member, or other staff person. If a staff member has been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for
    COVID-19, they must self-quarantine for 14 days.

    Social Distancing and Masks

    ILO staff will ensure that participants at any self-advocate gathering maintain social distancing of 6’ and that each person wears a mask.

    Hand Washing Hygiene

    ILO will encourage activity participants (staff, self-advocates, family, and guests) to wash their hands frequently (before, during, and after any event) and to carry hand sanitizer with them.

    Disinfecting Where Possible

    At any ILO gathering ILO staff will wipe down doorknobs, tabletops, and other surfaces with disinfectant wipes before and throughout the event or activity to the extent possible.

    Safety and Wellness Training

    ILO has spent the last two months training self-advocates about safety issues including: emergency preparedness, having an emergency contact list, how to ask for help, calling 911, putting together a first aid and emergency kit, and dealing with emergencies. ILO will continue to review and reinforce this training on a regular basis.

    Immediate Mediation if Symptomatic

    ILO staff will contact family and/or caregivers immediately about any self-advocate who exhibits symptoms on COVID-19 and will help that self-advocate seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

    The COVID-19 outbreak is a dynamic and unpredictable situation. ILO will adapt as needed.

    Additional Information on COVID-19


    Disability alone may not be related to higher risk for getting COVID-19 or having severe illness. Most people with disabilities are not inherently at higher risk for becoming infected with or having severe illness from COVID-19. However, some people with disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection or severe illness because of their underlying medical conditions.

    About COVID-19

    • Coronavirus disease is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

    For more information go to CDC’s Fact Sheet- What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

    • Risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19, such as healthcare workers, direct support providers, and household members. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who live or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

    Prevention and Treatment

    There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventative actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often. There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.

    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

    Please subscribe to our monthly ILO Insights newsletter to receive new editions by email.
    You may opt out at any time.

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

    The 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.

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