2017 Annual Report

With no new funding or staff, Rene Favreau (left) gives 80+ hungry families a month free meat, vegetables, fruit, bread and canned goods – and turkeys and chickens at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Kudos to the CILO staff members who deliver nutritious and life-saving food to their clients. Thanks to Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Rene received a new refrigerator/freezer so that he can store perishable food such as meat, produce, milk and butter. If a hungry client calls Rene, they can get food the same day, which is unheard of at other pantries. Recently Rene also gave away bottles of mosquito repellant to our families who can’t afford it.

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Maite Reyes-Coles’ SAIL department increased the number of clients it helped this year by 37% over last fiscal year and the number of service hours by 30% with less staff and even though some staff missed considerable time due to illness. The team served 386 clients this year compared to 282 last year and are on pace to generate 3,734 hours of service to those with disabilities compared to 2,862 the year before.


Not to be denied by unresponsive bureaucrats, Tanya Meade secured a restraining order for a home-bound victim recovering from injuries. The ADA coordinator at the courthouse ignored several inquiries. Tanya smartly got a court administrator to arrange for a judge to call the victim, which led to the restraining order being granted.


Varah Siedlecki teaches clients skills to live independently as well as how to find and keep a job. The classes stress computer skills but many of the students can’t afford laptops.

Varah (first on right) gives them laptops via a generous donation from Tomas Coles in the Riviera Beach Mayor’s Office of Veteran Affairs.


Kathleen (right) called Rene and told him she needed a shower chair but could not afford the $40 delivery charge from Clinics Can Help. And, she didn’t have a vehicle or know anyone who could pick it up. So Rene called Angela Van Etten in the Treasure Coast, and she had Joe Anderson checked their storage facility. Joe found a shower chair, brought it to the PB County office and Rebecca delivered it. Great team work!


After her husband was murdered in Guatemala, a woman and her children fled to the U.S. She moved in with her father and got a job, but right away they were all robbed before Christmas. Libby Snyder arranged gifts for the children from the Fort Pierce Police Department and free counseling for the traumatized children.


After escaping her abusive husband, the only place a local woman had to sleep was her car. After extensive research and numerous calls, William with help from Rene found her housing at Quiet Waters in Belle Glade. William helped fill out the application, and the woman now has a furnished 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment for $200 a month, which includes all utilities.


Brandy Macaluso and her Victim Services Program were awarded the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation Director's Community Leadership Award "in recognition of outstanding service to the local community and of enduring contributions to the advancement of justice." It was presented by the FBI’s special agent-in-charge (right) and colleagues from the Miami District Office. The FBI then hosted Brandy and Tanya at an award ceremony (left) during April at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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The victim of severe human trafficking cried when she received her permanent residency card. It took more than 4 years, but Brandy and Rebecca wouldn’t give up. The woman was part of one of the biggest human trafficking cases ever handled by the Department of Justice. Rebecca and Brandy found essential services for the victim in Palm Beach County and helped her complete paperwork that she could not fill out due to illiteracy and the trauma she had endured.

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An autistic client kept asking for a bicycle for Christmas so Patsy Roberts arranged for a Treasure Coast agency to buy him one. When it was delivered, he smiled, gave everyone a hug and offered a big thank you. 

Also at Christmas, Patsy worked with another Treasure Coast non-profit to provide gifts for a boy who recently suffered a brain injury and is in a wheelchair.

And, Patsy also coordinated a $500 donation to assist a client’s family struggling to bury a relative.


Kim Pastrana (second from left) started an internship program that gave four teenagers with special needs experience working in an office as part of the Vocational Rehabilitation summer opportunity program, and she taught classes to teach youth how to dress and interview to impress for a job as well as skills to thrive in their first job. The students also went bowling to improve their social skills.

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BG, 55, had a spinal cord injury and was getting progressively worse. Her doctor told her she would not be walking within 3-6 months. She could barely move her legs without pain and needed constant assistance from a family member to move around. Joe got BG a wheelchair and a walker with a seat for periodic resting from the Adaptive Loan Closet Program in the Treasure Coast. He brought the equipment to BG’s home and showed her and her family how to operate and store them.   


Brandy and the VOCA staff organized the second annual THRIVE event (below) with approximately 50 attendees and 10 victims sharing how they have fought back.

The VOCA department served 1,324 new victims during the past year – 109 more than their target and 528 more than the year before.

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Someone stole a Belle Glade man’s bike and left him with no transportation to get to work. He spoke only Creole, was trying to learn American Sign Language and didn’t know how to apply for compensation.  Irene Sirois connected him to an internship with Jack the Bike Man. After 20 hours of volunteering he was given a free bike to ride to work.     


Patsy assisted a victim-witness and her 5 children with clothing, food, and relocation assistance and connected them to an agency that provided bus tickets so they are now in a safe location.    


WS (left), 74, of Port St. Lucie is recovering from a severe hip injury. He uses a walker and goes to physical therapy 2-3 times a week. But he was struggling to safely enter and exit the shower and was using the soap dish and towel rack to steady himself. Buying and installing grab bars was beyond his modest budget. Joe arranged funding to pay contractor Don Malone for the project. “They work very well and I can easily get in and out of the shower now, thank you,” said WS.

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A homeless single mother and her 7-year-old daughter have their first home together (and a bed) at Davis Landings due to the hard work of Irene.


Brandy worked a case of 2 children identified in child pornography photos and videos in which she connected victims with law enforcement, the Child Protection Team and the State Attorney. Brandy relayed information leading to the discovery of additional evidence that was turned over to detectives and led to the discovery of 10 victims found in the photos. The VOCA program then identified 4 more the following day.     


Patsy helped a family of victims to get approved for a $2,000 section 8 housing voucher but they still lacked $1,800 for a deposit and $883 for utility connections. Then Patsy contacted 3 agencies that collectively paid all the deposits.


Evelyn Baker directed our summer camp at Royal Palm Beach High School.  Students learned life skills plus arts & crafts and field trips to swim, bowl and watch movies.  Monique Barrett (right) led a group of student mentors at the camp who gained work experience as part of the Vocational Rehabilitation summer opportunity.  As a camp activity, many of the teens packed backpacks with canned and dry goods that go home with the students to feed their families over the weekend.

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Rebecca Jonguitud helped 14 households receive a total of $2,809 in food stamps during one month. In the following year these families will receive $33,700+. Similar monthly results over a year give hungry families more than $400,000. Food stamp researchers say every dollar is multiplied by more than $1.50, which means annually Rebecca can add more than $1 million to the local economy.


Angela is advocating for MY, a Vietnam veteran and resident of a mobile home park in St. Lucie County. MY is an amputee, has epilepsy, uses a wheelchair and has a service dog named Hannah. The dog is individually trained to fetch what MY drops and to run for help should he fall or have a seizure.
MY came to Angela because newly elected management began treating Hannah as a pet rather than a service animal despite her peaceful residence in the park for the past five years.

Management posted a No Pets sign on the vacant lots where MY takes Hannah off her leash for exercise and rules were adopted that require all pets be kept on a leash.

But Hannah is obedient to 30 voice commands and does not need a leash and has not hurt anyone or destroyed any property.

At MY’s request, Angela wrote to the park management to share federal laws that support MY's request for formal written approval of a reasonable accommodation allowing Hannah to continue his off-leash daily exercises.

After getting their attorney involved, the park board voted to allow MY to exercise Hannah in a field near a pond with alligators. Needless to say, there is more work to be done!

Service dog Hannah visiting with a vietnam vet.

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Susan Carberry’s client NS was approved for Social Security benefits less than 6 weeks after applying instead of a few years like most applicants.  He has uncontrolled diabetes and heart disease which were not being treated since he lacks insurance. Because Medicaid eligibility occurs automatically along with SSI benefits, NS could get treatment and medications and pay his rent for the first time in years. 

For the year, Susan got 14 favorable Social Security decisions for clients which gave them about $150,000 total in retroactive benefits and monthly benefits ranging from $735 to $1,800 plus Medicaid and Medicare when approved.

This past year alone, Susan obtained benefits that total $15,900 a month for clients or $190,800 a year collectively.  


SB has kidney and heart disease and lives in a nursing home in Fort Pierce. He has used a Jazzy Elite wheelchair since 2010 but lately the batteries would not hold a charge for more than an hour. As a Social Security Disability beneficiary with a monthly income of only $721 (most of which is paid to the nursing home), SB qualified for financial assistance from the Treasure Coast Fund.

Angela negotiated a good price of $468.18 with Physicians Choice, a durable medical equipment company, which picked up, repaired and delivered the wheelchair to SB within two hours. SB was thrilled and very grateful for CILO’s help.


Want to see our after-school program featured in the United Way of Palm Beach County campaign video (right) or see Channel 20 interview Dan Shorter and Brandy? Go to www.youtube.com, find us under Coalition for Independent Living Options, Inc., and watch the videos on our playlist.

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