After Darlene Williamson advocated for a student the parents wrote her a note saying: “My husband and I wanted to say thank you again for all of your assistance. We had a very positive experience today, both with the school and working with you. You were very helpful and we are excited to continue working with you. It makes us feel very comfortable and secure having you there with your expertise and knowing you are there to make sure our daughter gets what she needs to be successful…Thank you again for your help.”
During January Susan Carberry won Social Security cases that will provide $25,000-$30,000 plus future benefits for three clients.
Key Stats: 66% of SAIL clients have demonstrated an increased knowledge of life skills
100% Are still living independently
83% Of ALERT students have mastered a life skill
Amber Lott (2nd from right) organized a free trip to the Boca Museum of Art for her peer socialization group. They discussed various works of art with the docent and other group members
Daniel Cadorette’s ALERT program completed a focus on money management. Many of our students learned the types and values of U.S. currency, how to add and subtract using money and how to make change. The youth practiced using money by purchasing food at the ALERT Grocery Store. Daniel has put the flyer together for the ALERT Summer Camp this year. (left)
Sixty-nine families (170 people) received food assistance during January, including 3 new families. Since last January we have assisted 272 families, including the after-school backpack program. Thanks to Maryann Whims for coordinating and to those who stock shelves and deliver.
Michele Sanz ran a peer support group on healthy relationships with a group at Stuart Community High School. The group was very engaged and participated actively in the session. The facility was very pleased with the positive experience, and have invited CILO to run another peer support group.
Irene Sirois empowered five clients to complete applications and enroll in a hospitality program. After 12 weeks of training, they received certification from Career Source.
AP was being physically abused and sex-trafficked by her boyfriend when she came to Libby Snider through a referral from the ESE department at her school. She has a very low IQ and is very vulnerable. Libby arranged a therapist to take her case to get the support she needs. Criminal charges are pending.
Brandy Macaluso was requested to speak on behalf of the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the VOCA funding source, for its Florida Crime Prevention & Training Institute. She traveled to Tallahassee to provide a 2-hour session during the Crime Victim Practitioner Designation Training to discuss the needs of crime victims with disabilities. She received great reviews and has been told she may be requested for future trainings.
Michele Sanz (closest on left) and intern Kayla Chouinard raised $680 at the Summer Crush Winery in Fort Pierce. Michele also spoke to many of the attendees about CILO's services and gave out numerous pamphlets as well.
Tanya Meade, a victim advocate at CILO and volunteer VP of the Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches, received the Community Advocate Award at Place of Hope’s inaugural Human Trafficking Awareness Luncheon and Advocate Awards. (right)
Tanya also attended the Office for Violence Against Women’s Partner Roundtable Conference. She represented the interests of people with disabilities in the event they become sexually assaulted or the victims of intimate partner violence. There were a number of conference take-aways including some great material to bring to her peer support groups.
A woman was referred to CILO for housing and financial assistance from Safe Space, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Terry Roth offered the client many resources, and she had an affordable apartment within days. But, unfortunately, she could not move in for 6 to 8 weeks. So Terry arranged temporary housing and assembled household goods for the woman’s new home.
Brianna Scerenscko helped a high school student with autism obtain appropriate accommodations, services and goals on their IEP.
After discussing the parent’s concerns, Brianna reviewed the student’s IEP and drafted a list of possible goals to prepare for an IEP meeting in which she was successful in obtaining a "safe pass and safe person" for when the student was stressed or anxious. Brianna also helped write appropriate goals for the next school year, including possible careers of interest and their requirements and organizing the research in a binder/folder. The client’s parents thanked Brianna for supporting their son and his education.
William Genem and Ana Pacheco participated with the West Palm Beach Cares Program in conducting its annual Hispanic Community Outreach Event at St. John Fisher Church for about 500 families. (below) This event was created after West Palm Beach PD officers noticed that there was a high number of child sexual assault cases within the local Hispanic community. Detectives realized that there was a need to educate residents on local laws, consent, and services available to them. According to the detectives, some Hispanic countries do not enforce laws against having sex with minors and therefore it is not seen as illegal or prohibited. Then they come to the United States and continue the behavior. The event stressed that sexual contact with children is a crime and can result in jail time. The outreach event also taught attendees that if they call the police because they are the victim of a crime, they will not be deported. Lastly, people were educated on local resources available to them to include AVDA, Catholic Charities, Center for Family Services, CILO, Guatemalan Mayan Center, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, Home Safe and Legal Aid Society.
MD, 80, contacted Joe Anderson about her need for assistance with repairs to her stair lift, which enables her to get in and out of her home. Without it she can’t leave the house. When MD contacted Joe, she was stuck in the house unable to leave. Joe helped MD complete an emergency application that afternoon for financial assistance from CILO to pay for a contractor to diagnose and fix the lift with two new batteries. She can now come and go as she pleases.
Praise for CILO Staff:
“So, we met with Darlene Williamson today. What a sweet woman!!” said a parent. “Plus I couldn’t believe how much time she spent with me, I was there for 2 and a half hours!! No organization has ever spent that much time with me in regard to my son. It was nice to be heard and helped!!”
After working with intern Yasmine Dominique, a parent says her daughter is making major headway in communicating and interacting with her family after multiple sexual abuse crimes left her very angry and depressed.
A client contacted Brandy Macaluso to let her know that new I&R specialist Maryann Whims was very kind and helpful. She was shocked to receive so much food and said other pantries barely give enough to last a week.
J.G contacted Brandy to let her know interns Yasmine and Stacy Ovil were extremely helpful in providing therapy, encouragement and compassion. She credited CILO with finding the best people to provide services.