February 2024

Empowering people with disabilities to lead independent and inclusive lives in the community.

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A Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

The Super Bowl is known for many things including their memorable and effective advertising through commercials. These are the most watched of any commercials in the country and can provide an enormous opportunity to help break down social stigmas around disability by making people with disabilities more visible. These commercials should include people with disabilities in a manner that normalizes disability.


In television we have evolved from the early roles of people with disabilities such as Raymond Burr (Ironside) in 1967, and Corky Thatcher (Life Goes On in 1989 which was the first television series to have a major character with Down syndrome). Today there are series where most of the cast includes people with disabilities, such as As We See It, a series about three roommates in their 20’s on the autism spectrum, as they navigate jobs, dating and family relationships. These television series and commercials alike present a huge opportunity to tell diverse, complex stories of the disability experience by including people with disabilities. 


In a few weeks, I will be one of the millions of people watching the Super Bowl and hope that the commercials include people with disabilities but without the focus on disability. It certainly is about time!


Have you viewed a commercial or television show that you feel had a positive message using actors with disabilities in the cast? I would love to hear about it, feel free to email me or call me at 513-338-5100.


Wishing you peace and prosperity,


Rob Festenstein

Executive Director


P.S. Let us start this month of February with a $10 Kroger gift card to the THIRD person to contact me by clicking here


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Do you have questions about The Empowerment Connection or

Living Well in the Community?

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CILO Supplying Free COVID Test Kits

CILO is pleased to be an eligible partner, through U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Strategic Preparedness & Response (ASPR), to distribute over the counter (OTC) COVID-19 tests to people with disabilities, older adults, their caregivers, and family members. These OTC COVID-19 tests are rapid antigen tests that an individual can self-administer rather than going to a COVID-19 testing location. The person who takes the COVID-19 test will receive their result within minutes. If they test positive, local public health recommendations for isolation and/or CDC Quarantine and Isolation guidance should be followed. Currently, CILO has 96-test kits to distribute at no-cost, with each box having 2-tests and instructions. If you are a person with a disability, or an aging or disability-related organization serving a consumer with a disability and are in need of a free COVID-19 test, please contact CILO’s Director of Programs, Suzanne Hopkins, by email or by phone at (513) 338-5109.  

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Employee Anniversaries

Whoops! We forgot to celebrate a one-year anniversary in January for Jenise Brassell, Independent Living Specialist!

And in February we are celebrating the 17 year anniversary of Art Beyond Boundaries Gallery Director, Jymi Bolden.


JAZZED ABOUT ART benefitting Art Beyond Boundaries

Friday, November 8th at 6pm

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