Message from the Chief Executive Officer

 

   My office phone ran, and it was the FBI with two questions. 

   1-- Could I keep a secret?

   2--Could the South Florida agent-in-charge and his team attend out  next staff meeting? 

    The good news was the the Feds were not coming to arrest any of the staff but to surprise and honor them.

    So in the middle of our next staff meeting, there was a knock at the door and in came a team of FBI executives to announce that Brandy Macaluso and her crime victim advocates had won the FBI Director's Community Leadership Award for the outstanding commitment to helping those with disabilities who are victimized. 

    Brandy and Tanya Meade then attended a ceremony in Washington, D.C., including a tour of the FBI building and meeting with then director James Conmey. 

    The Victims of Crime Advocacy (VOCA) ground does amazing work from counseling those who have been bullied to arranging restraining orders for victims of domestic violence to connecting those who have been caught up in sex trafficking and slavery. 

    As an example of the challenges they face, on one recent Friday morning they received a dozen new cases of children who had been victims of sexual abuse. 

    Many of CILO staff see disturbing conditions every day from senior hunger to disabled veterans living on the street. 

    Their job - and they do it well - is to lift up these neighbors. Speak up for them, find them assistance, give them expert advice, make referrals they can count on follow up as needed. 

    This past year the CILO team helped at least 5,048 families coping with a disability - about 1,000 more than the year before across Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River (VOCA only) and Okeechobee counties. 

    We ensure home-bound seniors receive deliveries of nutritious food, teach teens with disabilities how to get a job and an apartment, make sure special needs children receive the exact instruction and therapy they need to thrive, retrofit homes to make them safe and accessible, provide free taxi rides for dialysis patients, operate after-school and summer camps for youth and sit in court with traumatized crime victims to guarantee they understand the proceedings and know their rights and then direct them to agencies to provide for their basic needs. And we caringly for years guide and support homeless veterans and others who don't know where to turn until Social Security benefits are finally approved. Plus, we're constantly connecting people in despair to non-profits and governmental agencies that can help. 

CILO's 2016-2017 highlights include: 

  • With our board of directors' support, we started a free pantry that gives more than 50 hungry families a month meat, vegetables, fruit, bread and canned and dry goods (staff even make deliveries) 
  • We created a financial reserve of almost $500,000 after selling our office and paying off our mortgage,
  • We renewed all our federal, state and local contracts - most with an increase
  • Our summer camp added a backpack program to send healthy food home to families for the weekend,
  • Once again the VITA site we host generated about $2 million in tax refunds for struggling families

    Would you like to join us in our mission to aid those with disabilities? We welcome your support, and I invite you to become our partner in promoting independence for people with disabilities by becoming a CILO member, making a tax-free secure donation on our website at www.cilo.org. Or call us to volunteer - 561-966-4288

    Sincerely, 

Dan E. Shorter, CEO

About Us