What is SAM?

What is SAM?

What is SAM?

SAM stands for Self-Advocacy Movement of Moscow. You may remember it under its previous name – Self-Advocacy Leadership Network (SALN). This local group underwent a bit of a rebranding a couple years ago, focusing on providing social and educational opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Moscow and Palouse areas.

The CDHD volunteered to help reorganize and collaborate with local self-advocates to continue to provide monthly meetings. The program is currently supported by CDHD student trainees Kincaid Moberly and Abril Correa, who sat down to talk all about SAM and the benefits it brings to them and its members.

Thank you both for taking the time to talk about SAM! Let’s start off by getting to know the program a little better. What is SAM about?

Kincaid: Essentially it’s a social and educational group where you [participants] will learn about self-advocacy and independent living skills, participate in group-selected activities and engage as a community.

Who participates in the program?

Kincaid: SAM mostly centers around local adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but we welcome all members of the community to participate and learn alongside us.

Abril: … in Moscow and the surrounding Palouse communities.

How often does SAM meet?

Abril: SAM meets every third Wednesday of every month during the academic year.

And how long are the meetings?

Kincaid: The meetings are two hours long, from 6-8 pm PT.

Excellent! And what is your role in SAM?

Abril: Kincaid and I serve as facilitators for the SAM group. We also work together to coordinate the activities for upcoming meetings.

Kincaid: Abril and I organize committee meetings to ask SAM members what they want to learn ahead of each meeting. We then contact potential guest speakers and design an agenda of activities.

It’s great the SAM members get to decide what they want to do. They really get to shape what they want the meetings to look like. What are some of the other benefits of SAM?

Abril: It provides a sense of community within this group. There are many educational, fun and community-building activities … that enhance the group’s self-advocacy and independent living skills.

Kincaid: One of the biggest benefits is the SAM members themselves. They are very generous (especially with the food they bring)! We learn a lot together and celebrate together … it’s free too!

Ha ha! And have you found that helping with SAM has been beneficial to you personally? If so, why?

Kincaid: Working with SAM has taught me a lot of professional skills, like organizing routine events and time management. But, it has also brought a lot of joy to my personal life. Every time I’m worried about the next SAM meeting and whether I did a good enough job, I’m met with such kindness and support … I love the ‘togetherness’ of SAM. I feel the joy of community and friendship when I attend these meetings.

Abril: I have found them to be beneficial for me personally, too. I have had the opportunity to grow my professional skills, and working with the SAM group has been so much fun! I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people and engage in the activities they select.

That’s wonderful! Why, in your opinion, is it important to have this program?

Abril: It’s important to have this program because it provides a space for people with disabilities to come together, learn and socialize. Programs like this help people with disabilities exercise their autonomy and practice self-advocacy.

Kincaid: SAM gives adults with disabilities the space and support to have their needs, wants and abilities central to the design of their communal events. There’s nothing else quite like it around here.

It really is great to see that the CDHD can support and collaborate on a program that's designed for the local disability community by the local disability community. What sorts of activities are focused on in each meeting?

Abril: The activities depend on what the members of SAM decide.

Kincaid: They focus a lot on community, self-improvement and creativity. They [the activities] change with the requests of the members, so it’s never boring.

Abril: For example, we had a Halloween party with pizza. We did Laughter Yoga and a Thanksgiving Dinner potluck.

Kincaid: We have done art, holiday-themed activities and nutrition-focused activities like Erik Luvaas’s focus group on nutrition.

It sounds like a lot of fun! What has been your favorite activity so far?

Abril: My favorite activity so far has been the Halloween Party in October. We did a Movement in the Park activity followed with different game activity stations that all the members engaged in. It was so much fun dressing up and having fun together in that meeting!

Kincaid: My favorite was from our meeting in February. Nick Koenig, a PhD student at the University of Idaho led an art activity where we rolled ink onto blocks of wood, pressed them onto paper and made beautiful cards.

That’s great! I believe Nick will be doing something similar at the upcoming artAbility Showcase. I’ll have to check it out … What do you look forward to most before each meeting?

Kincaid: I look forward to the main activity of the meeting. Sometimes we have an activity that I haven’t experienced before, and I love learning new things. I also look forward to seeing all the SAM members.

Abril: I look forward to being able to see the members’ ideas come to life in every meeting. It’s also great to see familiar faces and get to know new people at every meeting.

Thank you again for agreeing to talk about SAM. It sounds like such a wonderful program. Before I let you go, tell me what's your favorite part about helping with SAM?

Kincaid: My favorite part of helping with SAM is the meeting itself. It’s a lot of fun to see Abril and I’s hard work come together. I also love to see the SAM members enjoying themselves. It definitely makes it all worthwhile.

Abril: My favorite part is getting to know everyone who attends. It has been great being able to connect with the SAM members.

The next SAM meeting will be on April 17 from 6-8 pm PT.

If you would like more information about the meeting or the SAM group, please call the CDHD office at 208 885 6000 or reach out to Kincaid or Abril directly:

Abril Correa, acorrea@uidaho.edu
Kincaid Moberly, kmoberly@uidaho.edu