September 2018

   Joan (below) needs a high-speed Internet connection for her video calls. But during August her landlord separated Internet charges from her rent and she could not afford the increase. Irene Sirois helped Joan apply and get approved by AT&T for a $5-a-month connection.


     Susan Carberry won 3 cases at the hearing level last month. Alan and Richard will receive 3+years of retroactive benefits, and Brandice will receive 2 years retroactive. We don’t have exact amounts yet of how much they will receive. Teneisha, who was granted benefits in December of last year, finally received a check for $36,000 on Saturday. Her case took 2 hearings and four years to win. 

A guardian grandmother was struggling with Internet technology required to communicate with teachers. Darlene Williamson visited the home and made sure every app and link was set up so she could connect with the school.

   Tanya Meade co-facilitated a peer support group with one of our community partners from Place of Hope and identified several victims of bullying. We’ll provide them with emotional support while they work through the support group program.

   70 Households with 212 people received food during September at the pantry operated by Rene Favreau. 17 after-school students took backpack food home for their families, including healthy vegetables and meat. Almost 120 families are registered to get food at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Toy registration has started.

   A woman was involved in a deadly DUI accident that left her on the developmental level of a 1-year-old. Her mother took it upon herself to not let her daughter go to a facility away from her family and instead brought her home where she takes care of her and her teenage daughter. The client’s mother works as a substitute teacher and has been struggling to make ends meet as she modifies her home with the equipment necessary for her daughter. William Genem and Darlene Williamson teamed up with Palm Beach County Victim Services to assist the mediation at the granddaughter’s school, therapy sessions, medical and dental assistance and assisting her with getting a contractor to assess the house for much needed modifications. William is sending those estimates to Victim Compensation to request payment however, they likely are maxed out on funding. So, staff got together and nominated the family for The Palm Beach Post’s Season to Share program.

   Michele Sanz (below) and military veteran volunteer Emilio Sanz participated in the United Way Volunteer Fair last month along with other local agencies. Many students visited the table and showed interest in learning more about what CILO does and how they could volunteer. We recruited 11 volunteers at the event.

    MC is a victim of domestic violence. She has three children, including one with autism. Her husband refused to provide any child support after he was arrested for domestic violence leaving MC in a precarious position financially.  Libby Snider got MC get a restraining order against her husband and worked with community partners to get MC a job, the deposit for her to move into a new home with her children, mental health counseling for herself and her children and also an attorney to help with her divorce.  MC and her children are now in a safe place.

   Terry Roth and Libby Snider helped a victim with a disability get an injunction against a man who assaulted him. The battery hospitalized the man for a week and required physical rehabilitation for over a month. The victim was in a wheel chair for about 2 months. Terry is referring him to counseling and arranged emergency funds for traveling expenses so he can attend doctor’s appointments and court hearings. Terry accompanied the man to a hearing, the defendant’s sentencing and to a restitution hearing. With some difficulty the victim is walking again.

   Brandy Macaluso and William Genem received a call from Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to assist a family victimized when their neighbor rang their doorbell in the middle of the night with an AR-15 gun and a bulletproof vest on. They saw him on their RING doorbell video even though he was trying to cover up the camera. He claims he was looking for his daughter who went to the neighbor’s house seeking refuge a few days prior because she said she was afraid of her father. The family wanted to move but the landlord would not let them break their lease. We referred the family to an attorney. According to police, the landlord had prior knowledge of this tenant’s unstable and violent nature and put his other tenants at risk by allowing him to stay there.

   Joe Anderson received a referral from the Port St. Lucie Police Department for a woman needing assistance with her air conditioner. She has cystic fibrosis and was having difficulty breathing. The police were very concerned for her health. Thanks to our intern, Amber Lott, helped the woman to find technicians willing to install parts she’d purchased to fix her AC. She also was referred to Susan Carberry for assistance with her Social Security claim.

   J.M. is a 2nd grader in a private school that offers little support for kids with special needs. His mother called Shannon Pretorius after J.M. said he was uncomfortable and unhappy at school. Shannon connected the family to several resources for J.M. and for the parents to learn to advocate for J.M. Counseling and other therapies have started, the school elicited help from professionals to learn how to address J.M.’s needs and, best of all, J.M. is feeling safe and comfortable at school.

     Brianna Scerenscko attended a challenging disciplinary hearing for a middle schooler with ADHD. The parents contacted CILO for advocacy assistance, as the school district was misinforming them regarding their procedural rights. Brianna advocated for the consumer at a hearing. Unfortunately, the majority of the school officials decided that the behavior was not a manifestation of the boy’s disability and considered expulsion. Brianna advocated that expulsion was not an appropriate punishment given the nature of his disability and the child was allowed to return to school!  The consumer’s mother wrote “This is a huge weight off our shoulders.  Thank you for walking through this process with us. You are an amazing advocate!  I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.”

   (below) CEO Dan Shorter (right) and Board President Joe Fields (left) attended the Nonprofits Hats Off award function.