Self-Advocates United as 1 (SAU1) was founded in July 2007 by people with developmental disabilities from all over Pennsylvania who wanted to teach other people about their rights and how to get an Every Day Life.
SAU1 members came from cities, suburbs, small towns, and the country. They were people of many races and lifestyles. Some members had been advocates for a long time. Some were new to advocacy and teaching.
SAU1 became part of the Pennsylvania Training Partnership so they could teach other people. SAU1 trainers met many times to learn about things important to people with disabilities, and how to teach others. Some trainers met often in Harrisburg to help make the trainings to be sure people with disabilities would understand, enjoy and learn from them.
SAU1 trainers worked in teams, meeting people with disabilities, their families and staff all over the state to teach them about their rights and how to live the life they want. People liked to learn more about how to live the way that is right for them. They liked to learn about important things and about being a leader. People said it was very important to them to learn from other people with disabilities, who know what they are talking about.
SAU1 trainers learned, too. They learned many people are not living the way that is right for them. They learned that people’s lives and communities are not changing to help them live a life of choice and control, and people need help to make changes. Trainers learned there are many things wrong that need to be fixed. They learned people with disabilities and other advocates need to join together, to have a strong voice to make change happen.
SAU1 members wanted to do more than teach. They wanted to help people make good changes in their lives and communities so all people can live the way that is right for them. Some members had experience with other groups that helped people and thought it was the right time for a new group. Trusted advisors from Mentors for Self-Determination and Vision for EQuality, Inc. told SAU1 about a grant to support self advocacy from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.
Nine SAU1 members and other people with disabilities wrote a grant proposal with help from people they trusted. Dee Coccia, Co-Executive Director of Vision for EQuality, Inc. offered to apply on behalf of SAU1.
SAU1 was awarded the grant and began its work for self-advocacy support on October 1, 2008. Since then, SAU1 has been working on building a strong foundation. Just like a house, an organization needs a strong foundation to support its work.
Here are some of the things SAU1 has done:
- November 2008: 14 members attend a retreat and vote on SAU1’s Board and Officers. SAU1’s mission and vision statements were created.
- December 2008: SAU1 is recognized and provided a seat at the Planning and Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting of the Office of Developmental Programs.
- January 2009: SAU1 creates and approves its logo representing unity, victory, diversity, celebration, and a new day for self advocacy.
- February 2009: SAU1 obtains its domain name (web address) of www.SAU1.org.
- May 2009: SAU1 Board members attend a session at the PA House of Representatives and are announced on the House floor. 2 Board members speak in front of hundreds of people at the Capitol in Harrisburg at the People First rally. (Insert photo of SAU1 Board members and staff at PA House of Rep. May 2009)
- June 2009: SAU1 begins weekly phone meetings for its leadership.
- July 2009: SAU1 members take part in a cross disability rally in Philadelphia.
- September 2009: SAU1 broadens its mission for better reach. SAU1 Board members present to the Quality Committee of the PA Developmental Disabilities Council. (Insert photo of SAU1 Board members preparing for presentation at the DDC)
- November 2009: SAU1 is offered a scholarship to and is represented at the Pennsylvania Association of Resources (PAR) annual conference. (Insert photo of Oscar Drummond with Shirley Walker of PAR)
- January 2010: SAU1 holds its first planning retreat and creates its PATH. (Insert photo of SAU1 members in front of their PATH)
- March 2010: SAU1 Board President Oscar Drummond receives an award from St. John’s Community Services for his work in advocacy.
- April 2010: SAU1 approves its Bylaws, and is awarded an Emergent Group Grant from the Disability Advocacy Supports Hub (DASH). Leaders also hold a historic meeting with leaders from PA Speaking for Ourselves (www.speaking.org ). SAU1 Board Vice President Carolyn Morgan receives an award from the United States Department of Justice for her work with prevention of crimes of abuse. (Insert photo of SAU1 Vice President Carolyn Morgan with Attorney General)
- May 2010: The Board begins monthly phone meetings with PA Deputy Secretary of Developmental Programs Kevin Casey.
- July 2010: The SAU1 Board holds its second planning retreat in Huntingdon PA. SAU1 members start their first phone survey. (Insert photo of SAU1 Board outside sign for Huntingdon)
- October 2010: SAU1 is awarded a continuation grant from the PA Developmental Disabilities Council through September 2012.
- November 2010: SAU1 begins its free monthly teleconferences for people with disabilities and the people who care for them.
CLICK HERE to see upcoming events and to see when the next teleconference is, and what it is about. Call in so your voice is heard!
Even while all of these organizational building activities were being done, SAU1 members continued to teach people with disabilities and family members, reaching nearly one thousand five hundred people in 2011. SAU1 leaders went to many conferences and summits in the disability community to be a voice for people with disabilities, to bring their concerns to the community. Through the generous support of many people and organizations, SAU1 leaders have traveled through and beyond Pennsylvania to share the messages of self advocacy and unity, and to learn more themselves.
What is next in the history of SAU1?
Why not join us, and help us make history?