September 2019

       ML, 67, asked Joe Anderson to help him become more independent in his home. ML has physical disabilities making it difficult to complete any type of home maintenance. Joe assisted ML with applying for financial assistance to pay for updates and maintenance in his bathroom as well as to fix his vacuum and ceiling fan switch in the living room. With Joe coordinating, Owner Builder Assistance Corp. installed new toilet seats, toilet flushing mechanisms and a shower head. ML told Joe, "You have no idea how much better I feel being able to take a shower, clean and use my toilets normally, and vacuum my carpets, I feel more normal again."

Chairman Mr. Fields gives award to Mrs. Shorter at the annual meeting.

       Chairman Joe Fields gives award to Jacquie Shorter at annual meeting. 

       Darlene Williamson assisted a family of a student who was placed at a school that did not meet his individual needs. Darlene persuaded the school district to conduct evaluations and to schedule an IEP meeting at which accommodations, services and a new school placement were added. The parent told us that this was the first IEP meeting where she truly felt heard and that the team worked together to meet her son’s needs.

       Irene Sirois received a call from MJ, who needed assistance accessing the door-to-door bus service to come to CILO for independent living classes. Irene completed the application with MJ, and Palm Tran Connection approved it for any trips the client wishes to take. MJ is also getting an ADA photo ID so she can ride fixed-route buses.

       T.S. and her daughter desperately needed food after being physically and financially abused. William Genem referred the victims for therapy, provided food from CILO’s pantry, got 6 locks for the victim’s father to install, helped the victims apply for compensation and connected them with a case worker at Harmony House for relocation assistance. He also attended their first hearing and will continue to support them in court.

A picture of a house with shutters up that the staff was able to help clients prepare for during the hurricane.

       Ana Pacheco and many staffers assisted hundreds of clients in preparing for what was meant to be a catastrophic Hurricane Dorian hitting Florida. Staff called families and to share information for special needs shelters, pet friendly shelters and shelters near their homes in case they evacuated. Staff also gave dozens of families water, food and needed storm supplies. Once again Joe Anderson installed shutters for clients (right). 


       Terry Burke referred a woman and her adult daughter with a developmental disability to the Florida Rural Legal Services after the daughter was abused by a man who claimed to be her friend -- but stole her money. Florida Rural Legal Services will file a vulnerable adult injunction ASAP. One of the client’s family members will need to file a guardianship as well. Both of the parents have been diagnosed with cancer.

       Susan Carberry won about $20,000 in back benefits for Gia, 22, who has learning and speech disabilities. She also will receive a monthly benefit and insurance.

       Her parents suspected kindergartener ND would struggle and met with the school team a couple of times prior to school starting to make a plan. But during the first week of school, ND got 3 behavior referrals and was sent home early twice. Frustrated and disappointed, ND’s parents called Shannon Pretorius for help. They didn’t understand the lingo the school staff was using, the process for getting support and the rights of their child. Through 3-4 interactions, Shannon answered all of their questions and plotted next steps. Now the parents feel confident and knowledgeable attending the school meetings.

       New VOCA team member Wynonah Johnson attended the Crime Victim Practitioner Designation Training in Tampa and gained extensive information and insight regarding the kinds of services we offer at CILO. And, she obtained her victim services practitioner certification.

       Libby Snider assisted a woman who suffered domestic violence and whose brother was convicted of sexually assaulting her two daughters. The mother had never received any services and was emotionally distraught. Libby gave her some hope. She supplied referrals for her and her children for counseling and gave them contact info for a low-cost attorney to help with their immigration case.

       New employee Amy LaRose helped AW, who has autism, enter kindergarten and get the proper supports and placements. After thriving at one school, the girl was overwhelmed when sent to general education classes. AW would cry making getting ready for school a nightmare. At the second IEP review meeting, Amy and the team found a school that had an ASD unit to support her needs. The mother reports that AW is doing well now and she is so thankful.  

       Michele Sanz was invited to give a training on Elder Abuse and Scam Awareness at the Florida Health Care Activity Coordinators Association District 13 meeting. Michele received high praise and connected with several groups.