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Self Advocates United as 1 - The Path to Power!

SAU1’s path to power for people with disabilities began in July 2007:  Self Advocates United as 1 is formed as a project of Vision for Equality, Inc. to provide peer to peer trainings and technical assistance as part of the PA Training Partnership.  SAU1 trainings were written and led by people with developmental disabilities for people with disabilities from the southeast, southwest, and northwest parts of PA.


Spring 2008

SAU1 leaders realized they wanted to do more.  9 self advocates came together as founding members to write a proposal for the PA Developmental Disabilities Council, with Vision for Equality, Inc. as the formal applicant on behalf of SAU1.

October 2008

 SAU1 is awarded its first grant from the PA Developmental Disabilities Council to support and strengthen a statewide self advocacy group.  SAU1 leaders begin to meet weekly over Skype and twice each year in person.  SAU1's Partnership work continued.


November 2008

Dr. Nathaniel Williams funded SAU1's first two day in-person meeting.  A Board of Directors was created and its members were voted on, and they  decided that only people with developmental disabilities could serve as Board members.  The Board also wrote and approved SAU1’s mission and Vision.

Spring 2009

SAU1 Board members and leaders make history and meet for the first time with then Deputy Secretary of the PA Office of Developmental Programs, Kevin Casey.

Pictured in the front row are Board Member Matt DeWeese and SAU1 volunteer Charlene Hayes. 

Seated in the second row are Board member Ramona Klink, SAU1 volunteer Stephanie Kohler, and Board member Debbie Bonam.  In the third row are Board Secretary Esther Kuhn, SAU1 volunteer Michael Stumbaugh, Deputy Secretary Casey, and SAU1 volunteer .  Standing behind Ms. Kuhn is Board member Steven Merush. 


Summer 2009

SAU1 Board Members Debbie Bonam and Esther Kuhn speak up about why funding for services is important to them at the Rotunda of the Capital Building in Harrisburg.  Pictured is (left) Debbie Bonam speaking about her aging parents and the need for supports for her, and others like her.Esther Kuhn speaking about her life of abuse and neglect before receiving services.

Fall 2009

SAU1, still as a project of Vision for Equality, was awarded a small, grass roots grant from the PA DDC to support an in-person meeting and to support the development of its first website. 


Lorem 2009

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SAU1's finished PATH. PATH stands for Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope. You can find out more on
Inclusion Press’ PATH page.


Spring 2010

SAU1 Board members vote in unanimous approval to accept its bylaws.  

Pictured:  Front row:  Board Treasurer Steve Dorsey; President Oscar Drummond, Vice President Carolyn Morgan.  

Back row:  SAU1 staff Kaye Lenkner and Sharon Harper-Young; Board member Debbie Bonam; VFE Co-Executive Director Dee Coccia; Board Secretary Esther Kuhn; SAU1 staff Susan McCloskey; VFE Co-Executive Director Maureen Devaney; Board member Ramona Klink.

Fall 2011

SAU1 awarded another statewide self advocacy support grant.  

(2011 or 2012) Self Advocacy Summit - national initiative of the Administration on Community Living

(connection with State Center - to talk about Community with the Executive Director from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, appointee of the National Council on Disabilities)  - people came from multiple state centers.  

Spring 2014

The PA Training Partnership ends, as the contract with the state ends.  SAU1 suspends all training work.

Summer 2015

SAU1 Board members vote to form an independent organization. 

October 2015

SAU1 Independence DAY!   SAU1 becomes a fully independent organization, no longer a project of Vision for Equality.  

The state freezes all payment for contracts, and SAU1's work is suspended.  Dedicated staff continue to support weekly calls to keep the Board connected. (work on Futures Planning - meeting every 2 weeks - deputy secretary Fred Lokuta) (work on Chapter 6100 regs) (represented at the newly formed ISAC)

(My Life, My Way - Values for Everyday Lives for Self advocates)

Rally speakers for Sexual Abuse Awareness: 

  • Matt Stinner
  • Ernie Roundtree
  • John Knorr
  • Francie Keeny
  • Lori McFarland
  • Renee Benise
  • Josh Harper
  • Larry Kubey
  • Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone

Spring (year) 

The SAU1 Board advocates for regular meetings with the Acting Deputy Secretary of the PA Office of Developmental Programs, Steve Suroviec, who agrees and begins to attend the face to face meeting of the Board.  

Spring (year)

The Board speaks up about the need for peer connections through training and technical assistance, and Steve agrees to work on how to support this work. 

Summer (year)

The new Deputy Secretary of ODP, Nancy Thaler, continues to meet with the Board in person, and begins to join in the Board's calls once a month

Fall (date) 

New Deputy Secretary Nancy Thaler meets with some of the SAU1 Board members and staff to begin negotiations on ODP supporting peer connections through training and technical assistance.   The Self Advocacy Power Network for All (SAPNA), a project of ODP managed by SAU1 is started. 

Spring 2017 

SAU1 is awarded a grant from the PA Developmental Disabilities Council to support a statewide self advocacy group.  The funding continues to support the groups regular in person and distance meetings, the development of a process to provide technical assistance for the real participation of people with disabilities to other grantees, and to create an interactive, peer to peer event to talk about relationships.

Knowledge is power, use it to connect with us!

Learn more about Self Advocates United as 1’s (SAU1) work, being a self advocate, and
speaking up for people’s rights

You can reach us in lots of ways. It’s easy!

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428 S Main Street, Suite 3
Greenville, PA 16125

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Give Rita at SAU1 a call at 724 588 2378.

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Self Advocates United as 1 is a non-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. No goods or services were provided in exchange for this contribution.