A Message from Our Executive Director

Dear Friends:
I recently shared with all of you information about our new three-year strategic plan that included a new vision statement and set of core values.  Our vision to be a recognized leader of quality and innovation services that promote independent living for people with disabilities compels us to stand strong on our values. 

Our services recognize the value of compassion by giving the respect, support and care each person deserves. While many of our consumers face their personal challenges daily, they rely on CILO and our dedicated staff to be assured services they are receiving will help them reach their independent living goals.

For one consumer receiving services through our Kentucky Permanent Supportive Housing Program, a devastating fire in his apartment building in early June could have easily forced him back into homelessness and off his path toward independence. With his apartment and many of his belongings a complete loss, the quick response of our staff assisted him to find him a new apartment as quickly as possible. Within 10 days he found a new apartment and was signing a lease. CILO immediately facilitated a furniture delivery through our strategic partnership with New Life Furniture Bank; and our well-stocked Housing Closet provided the essential items needed to help him with this fresh start. I am very proud of how our staff turned this around in such an expedient manner and appreciate the help we had from so many others to minimize the impact of such a bad situation.

My thanks to all of you for your continued support of our mission and the people we serve.  As always, I want to hear from you. Please contact me at 513-241-2600 (extension 211) or by email .


Rob Festenstein
P.S. I once again have a $10 gift card to Starbucks to the first person to contact me by email indicating you have read my message.

Are you following us on Facebook and Twitter?

CILO Welcomes New Board Members

We are pleased to announce the addition two new board members, 
LeAnne Armstead and Neil Kelly.

LeAnne is a graduate of Villanova University and has built an impressive career in marketing in both New York and Cincinnati. She is currently employed with The Kroger Company as the Digital Affiliate Marketing Manager. She has a passion for volunteering and mentoring, and currently serves on the board of Kroger Young Professionals.

A graduate of both Mount St. Joseph and Northern 
Kentucky U niversities, Neil has  spent most of the last decade giving back to his community. As a young professional, he brings his unique and personal perspective to cultivating positive relationships across our community, mostly advocating for an expansion of transportation for people with disabilities. Neil is currently employed as an Eligibility Technician with Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one of the most important and wide-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history. There are plenty of ways for you to participate in Cincinnati's Disability Pride celebration!

July 1
Proclamation from the city of Cincinnati declaring July 26, 2020 as Americans with Disabilities Act Recommitment Day

Week of July 6-10:
Sharing stories of progress while looking forward to the next 30 years of 
inclusion and equality

Week of July 13-17 (date TBD):
Panel discussion and conversation about the impact of the ADA on community access, employment and technology. Hosted and moderated by
Kevin Flynn, local disability rights advocate  and former City of Cincinnati councilman.
Our panelists include:
Erin Rolfes, Corporate Affairs Manager, Kroger; 
Paula Brehm-Heeger, Director of the Cincinnati Public Library; and 
Heidi Pettyjohn, Executive Director for Accessibility, University of Cincinnati. The panel will be hosted on Zoom, but you can also watch and participate on Facebook Live.

Week of July 20-25:
Virtual Award Ceremony honoring local partners who have been champions of accessibility and inclusion. Our honorees include:
  • Project SEARCH, for their commitment to helping people with disabilities find meaningful employment
  • The Cincinnati Accessibility Board of Advisors, for their work in making Cincinnati more accessible and inclusive
  • The Cincinnati Art Museum, for their dedication to eliminating barriers to enjoying art and their impressive collection
  • Disability Cocoon, for their innovative solutions to connecting people with technology that can improve quality of life
This week, our sponsors are also hosting honk-and-waves to increase public awareness of the Americans with Disabilities Act and show how people with disabilities are a vital part of our community. We also encourage you to host your own! View of list of participating organizations on 

How can you participate?
  • Attend our online events! We're hosting a virtual panel discussion and awards ceremony. Click here for more details. We're also sharing stories of progress and looking forward to the next 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Share your stories, pictures and videos! Use #CincyADA30 and #DisabilityPrideCincy on social media, or tag our sponsors and partners.
    Click here for links and handles of our social media pages.
  • Participate in one of our honk-and-waves or host one at your organization, the week of July 20-25. Make fun, colorful signs celebrating the ADA, stand outside a pre-selected location for a set amount of time, and have fun! Wave to cars and encourage them to honk to show their support for people with disabilities.
    • If you are hosting a honk-and-wave, please remember to practice social distancing by standing 6 feet apart and encourage participants to wear masks.
    • To have your honk-and-wave listed on the Hamilton County DD Services website, email the time, date and location to kim.sexton@hamiltondds.org.
    • If you want to be included in our video at the end of the month, take pictures or short video clips and upload them to: https://bit.ly/CincyADA30
  • Create signs, posters and artwork celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Host a Facebook or Instagram Live, or a Zoom meeting, to talk about the impact the ADA had on your life or your organization. You can feature musicians with disabilities, have other entertainment, or have experts in your field answering questions. You can also talk to your family and friends about disability rights.
  • Pick a day to commemorate the ADA by putting a red or blue balloon on your mailbox, doorknob, or fence.
We're excited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in Cincinnati! Remember to use #CincyADA30 and #DisabilityPrideCincy, or tag our partners on social media, so we can all join this virtual celebration!

Intelligent Lives: A Virtual Screening and Panel Discussion

CILO has partnered with the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and several other organizations, to host a virtual screening and panel discussion of the film "Intelligent Lives."

The live screening will be held on Zoom, Thursday, July 23 from 7-9 p.m.  After the film, viewers can participate in a facilitated panel discussion about the film and its important message. Learn more here.

One-on-One Virtual Instruction for Youth!

We are excited to bring Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) in self-advocacy and workplace readiness training to students ages fourteen through twenty-two with the help of Zoom! Each session typically lasts thirty minutes once per week, but scheduling is VERY flexible in order to meet the student's needs. The first session is a meet-n-greet followed by outlined sessions catered to the student's learning style. Students will be provided a step-by-step lesson plan ahead of time, and parents will be emailed notes after each session. There are two ways interested families can get authorized to receive Pre-ETS. They can contact Jeanne Menke, Youth Transition Services Specialist, by phone 513.241.2600 ext. 200 and email Jeanne,  OR, if the student has an Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) Counselor, families can contact their counselor to get the process rolling. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!!!

Employee Anniversary

Congratulations to Stephanie Johnson, Support Services Specialist, celebrating 2 years at CILO!

Did you know that shopping online with Amazon can benefit CILO?  
Eac h time you make a qualifying purch ase at  www.smile.amazon.com  0.5% comes back to CILO!  Just sign in with your regular Amazon credentials  and select Independent Living Options (Cincinnati) as your charity and  begin shopping and supporting.

Community Rewards Program
Learn how shopping at Kroger can benefit our programs and services throughout the year. Read more here!

Do you have a question about how you can support CILO?
Contact Debbie Moorehous, Director of Advancement by email 
or phone 513.241.2600 ext. 123 

Do you need our newsletter or other CILO publication 
in an alternative format?
Contact us at 513.241.2600 Ext. 123 or send your request via email.