About Us

About Us

Group of 10 students holds a sign that says ALERT AFTER CARE.

Last day of after-school program.


CEO Report for May 2020

     DD had been sleeping on other people's couches for a decade. Then she won her Social Security disability case at the first level of appeal, avoiding a hearing and the lengthy wait it typically entails. Almost every case goes to hearing these days and takes an average of 3 years. So, Susan Carberry, and DD were surprised and thrilled. CILO received almost 5,000 for providing representation. But as the case did not require the usual level of time and effort (it was approved a mere 2 months after the initial appeal was filed), we gave DD $3,000 of our fee to help her afford permanent housing. Then DD bought a trailer with a lot payment of $300 per month, including utilities. DD was tearful as she described how grateful she is for a permanent roof over her head and a predictable monthly income for the first time in years.

     After weeks of effort, Presnelie Presendieu, is re-starting financial literacy and job-readiness classes for disabled veterans the second week of June at Stand Down House.

     As Janyce Gonzalez helped a client load their vehicle with food, she noticed a  girl of about 5 coloring on the floor of the backseats. Janyce wanted to talk to the mother about car safety, but she didn't speak English and drove away. So Janyce contacted her advocate Ana Pacheco and within 2 days the family had a car seat. 

     Laura Cusack conducted 4 virtual presentations on human trafficking to approximately 122 community members at Place of Hope, and Pace School Advisory Council. Laura also educated youth in CILO's ALERT program on online safety. 

     William Genem asked intern Sarah Hall to assess the needs of a sexual assault victim. Then he made referrals to Susan Carberry for Social Security disability and Amber Faulhaber for counseling. William also sent the victim a Health Care District application for medical insurance. He also referred her to Presenelie Presendieu for independent living and budgeting classes. And William connected the woman to Vocational Rehabilitation to get a job and become financially independent. Once the client gains financial freedom, William will suggest moving out of her home and will refer her to Amber Lott for the FIND program to be completely independent. 

     Darlene Williamson advocated for a high school student who wasn't receiving adequate special education services in class. Then COVID-19 closed schools and the family wasn't notified of online learning possibilities. Darlene corrected the oversight and insisted that a meeting previously cancelled be rescheduled to ensure proper supports are in place for the student to return to school when it's safe. 

     Staff members Rebecca Jonguitud and Ana Pacheco have been working with a victim of domestic violence who had lost her job due to coronavirus. She ran out of art therapy supplies and her anxiety grew. Rebecca and Ana arranged donations of gift cards and art supplies. Rebecca is also seeking assistance to cover rent. The victim was extremely grateful and sent staff pictures of her art. 

     TA is living with roommates but wants a place of her own so that her children can move back in with her. Irene Sirois is exploring options in Palm Beach and Broward counties. 

     MF was referred to Libby Snider because she was a victim of domestic violence by her adult son. She was frustrated with not receiving assistance and was at the point of despair. Libby connected her to a mental health and legal assistant through community collaborations. 

      Michele Sanz facilitated a virtual support group online for the Boys & Girls Club on how to cope with anxiety, where 12 victims were identified. The participants expressed how they need coping skills and appreciated learning techniques that can help them. 

     Due to the  COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence is rising. MS was beaten many times by her boyfriend whom she shares a 3-year-old daughter with. The man was arrested but made bail. Living in fear, the young woman was referred to CILO by the police department. Terry Burke referred her to Legal Aid to file an injunction which was quickly granted. A referral phone number for mental health counseling was given to the young mother as well. She shared that she felt like she was losing her mind. terry assured she was experiencing the effects of trauma. MS was concerned for her daughter's mental health also because she had witnessed a lot of violence. A specialized age appropriate counselor  was referred for the 3-year-old little girl to begin counseling. 

     DC contacted Joe Anderson about his need for a shower chair and a power scooter. DC can no longer stand in the shower, and he misses walks around his neighborhood. Through our Loan Closet Program, CILO provided a power scooter  and a shower chair. DC was very happy and thankful and went for a ride around the neighborhood as Joe was driving away! 

     Amber Lott received a call from client  who recently became blind due to a rare genetic disorder. The man was approved for a housing voucher and we assisted him with an FPL deposit and his portion of first and last month's rent. We also signed him up for the DINE program so he could adjust to his new housing without worrying about buying food. 

     Clayton Lawson organized a meeting with the ESE director and program specialist of Port St. Lucie County School District to discuss how they could provide virtual services for the deaf/HoH population. He discussed the importance of  having both closed captioning and certified ASL (American Sigh Language) interpreters during zoom meetings. Having a certified interpreter is crucial to a deaf child's language development and acquisition. 

Joseph R. Fields, Jr., Esq., President
Fields Legal, LLC

Ellen Feir, Esq. Vice President

Lisa Kline Goldstein, Esq. Secretary

Steve G. Vlahakis, Treasurer

Scott Shoemaker


Dennis Stevenson
Palm Springs Leisure Services

Lisa Sanders
Medical Transportation Management (MTM), Inc

Derek T. Horne
Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity


Dan E. Shorter


Petra Pitkonen
561-966-4288 ext. 113


Chief Programming Officer
Brandy Macaluso
561-966-4288 ext. 118

Director of Quality Assurance
Maite Reyes-Coles
561-966-4288 ext. 103


Youth Coordinator
Daniel Cadorette
561-966-4288 ext. 121


During October 1989, a grass roots group of individuals with disabilities and representatives of key Palm Beach County agencies created the Coalition for Independent Living Options, Inc., (CILO) as an advocacy organization for children and adults with disabilities. CILO incorporated during January 1990 and elected a board of directors. Its inception and growth paralleled the passage and early implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. CILO has “grown up” with the ADA and comfortably carries out its role as the primary local source of ADA information.

CILO’s mission is “Promoting Independence for People with Disabilities.”

The purpose of CILO is twofold – to assist individuals with disabilities in reaching their goals for independence and to create societal change to promote acceptance and opportunities for people with disabilities to be fully included in all aspects of community life. To that end, CILO provides a broad range of services for persons of any age with any type of disability in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee counties.

The majority of CILO’s staff and board members have disabilities.

Together we assisted more than 5,000 families in the past year -- for free!
2018 Annual Report