December Success Stories

William Genem received a referral from a client about a victim of identity theft, who thought she was being threatened by the Social Security Administration to cancel medical benefits if she didn't pay money she owed. William connected the woman with Susan Carberry, who explained that the SSA would never threaten to withdraw Medicare. Susan also explained that this is a typical scam call targeting her money and personal information. William showed the victim how to safeguard her information and how to keep tabs on her credit.

Amber Faulhaber received a call from a frantic mother. Her son was was sexually assaulted and despite requesting, she didn't receive information or assistance from the victim's compensation program. Amber helped the woman fill out the application and guided her on how to get updates. Eventually the family was compensated for expenses. 

Sarah Murphy successfully applied for 4 individuals for 12 weeks of prepared DINE meals. Also, 4 applications for food stamps and 2 for Medicare waivers were completed which will provide financial relief and independence for clients. She also is working on getting a wheelchair ramp installed in a client's home with the funding provided for our kidney dialysis patients.

Michele Sanz facilitated a presentation on human trafficking for 61 members of the Florida Career Development Association. The participants were very engaged and multiple people commented on how grateful they were to learn about this important topic and to be able to apply it to their clients. 

Darlene Williamson and the staff gave toys to 25 families with 65 children at Christmas, including gifts totaling $1,000 for some households sponsored by the WPB Rotary.

Darlene spoke to one of the clients Terry Burke nominated, and the woman shared that CILO was the only organization that helped her when she suffered from domestic abuse. The client also said she's moving from Treasure Coast to Palm Beach County for a fresh start with her children. She found an affordable apartment but was short on the security deposit. Darlene transferred the case to Palm Beach County and helped the woman complete financial assistance applications. With Petra Pitkonen's guidance. the client received financial assistance and moved into her new home. After receiving  the holiday food and gifts, she wrote, "It's nice to wake up and know I am ending a cycle for me and my kids...thank you."

Since April, Laura Cusack has educated 1,524 community members, youth, parents, social service agency staff, medical professionals and hospitality staff on human trafficking, online safety,  domestic violence and people with disabilities. This was done through 77 presentations. She also represented the Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches in a podcast hosted by the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force. In December, Laura instructed crime victim practitioners on working with people with disabilities at the state attorneys general's designation training.

Susan Carberry first started working with Shakera W in 2010. She came to us in her early twenties with significant cognitive issues. First, Susan went through the appeals process to get her approved for Social Security Disability. Next, she got her kids approved. The relationship continued over the years as Shakera needed assistance filling out forms related to her benefits. Other staff at CILO also helped with food stamps. Medicaid and toys at Christmas. This year, on Christmas Day, Shakera texted Susan about how grateful she was for the gifts, and how much her kids enjoyed them.  

Shakera is a success story. She has always tried to the best of her ability. When we first met, she worked part-time at Wendy's. Later, she became a personal care provider for a private nursing patients. When COVID-19 arrived, and her job with patients disappeared, she found work with the PBC School District packaging and distributing meals to kids and families. It has been Susan's pleasure to watch Shakera develop confidence in herself and make her life a good one. The fact that CILO has participated in her success should make all of us proud.

A.B. suffers from asthma, which prevents her from sleeping. She also worries about going out due to the virus. Clayton Lawson asked if she had tried a humidifier. A.B. had no idea what a humidifier was. Clayton found her a humidifier within her price range at Walmart and sent her a virtual link to purchase. Since then, A.B. is sleeping and breathing much better.

Amber Lott, Tara Turene, and Stephanie Paniagua provided $31, 524.15 to families in need during December via our three financial assistance programs (with a little support from our consumer assistance funds), Fifteen families received assistance, including 3 that were homeless. a HUGE THANK YOU to the interns for helping with case management and follow-ups and to Tara for jumping in and taking over the majority of screenings! We saw another huge surge in calls as other community agencies have run out of money or became inundated and diverted many of their calls to CILO.

Ana Pacheco received a referral from DCF regarding a victim of domestic violence who recently lost her job due to COVID-19. During December, the victim was successfully connected to Vocational Rehabilitation, our food pantry, budgeting assistance and the holiday toy drive. 

Not only did Janyce Gonzalez feed 288 people in December, but she also donated a bunch of her son Josiah's clothes and Halloween costumes that he outgrew to a client who has  a little boy. The woman called Janyce to let her know that she was grateful for everything and used everything as Christmas presents! Turns out,  woman is also a former preschool teacher, so we shared some experiences of being in the classroom and the importance of letting boys express their imagination. She was happy that she had costumes for him to be able to do that!

MR was a victim if sexual assault by her biological father. As an adult, she came forward and make a report, and father is in prison, She is now a single mother and is struggling financially during the pandemic. She was referred to Libby Snider through a local sexual assault program. CILO then assisted by paying her light bill and connecting her with a mental health counselor.

A mother held her 17-year-old son while applying pressure to the hole in his abdomen due to a gunshot wound. Witnesses frantically called 911. Her son made it to the hospital where he underwent surgery  to save his life. Unfortunately, he did not survive, leaving his mother and father to grieve the loss of N.S. Jr. The family is struggling mentally and financially, so Terry Burke completed an emergency financial assistance application to help pay for their utilities. Food was also gathered from multiple food pantries to help alleviate the financial strain on them. The family is receiving mental health counseling and was referred to a trauma support group and other area resources.

Ann Koebe got a call on Dec. 23rd from one of the parents of a student with autism. This woman lives with her mother, her son, her adult daughter, and her adult daughter's baby. CILO helped them with food for Christmas and toys for her son and the baby. She called because she just wanted to say thank you again and let Ann know how much she appreciated our help. As it turned out, she really needed to talk. Her mom had again kept her up half the night demanding that she move out of the house with her children by Dec. 31. She was exhausted because she had to work all day. (The mother owns the house, and this happens often.) It seems like the mother is in the midst of Alzheimer's. Our agency now is trying to help the woman find housing. 

JB, 52, contacted Joe Anderson to inquire about obtaining groceries while waiting for food stamps and peer counseling services. JB has a traumatic brain injury as a result from a bombing while in the Marines. Joe obtained food for JB, and since he is one of CILO's staff with disabilities himself he gladly provided peer  counseling services to JB. JB has a therapist but "sometimes it's easier to talk with someone who really understands living with a disability and that's just not trained," he said. JB was able to learn some effective ways of managing his anxiety and differences with others. 

Since Klaudia Glavan worked with ALERT after-school staff to coordinate more lesson topics monthly vs. weekly youth are engaging more with aides and showing consistent increases in skills. Klaudia coordinated with Elizabeth Corsi for curriculum and Tami Eagle and admin support to provide virtual winter camp to 79 students from 6 countries.

Many students attended all 66 hours, including Saturdays, Christmas, and New Year's eves.