Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) Trainers

Sarah Carmany

Sarah Carmany

Sarah Carmany is from Kalamazoo Michigan. She is a strong self-advocate with Asperger’s syndrome. Sarah started her self-advocacy journey in 2012. Sarah is currently the Vice-Chair of the Self Advocates of Michigan and an alternate for her region on the Board for SABE. She currently sits on the Integrated Services of Kalamazoo Board and is a member of the Women’s League of Voters Kalamazoo. Sarah is also a member of the Supported Decision-Making Coalition of Michigan and supports the Youth Ambassador team. Watch Sarah’s story where she discusses her sense of inclusion owing to her integrated employment, supported decision-making through her circle of support and her activism.

Julian Wang

Julian Wang on the steps of the Capitol

Julian Wang, through his lived experience, is a strong advocate for those living with disabilities. He has volunteered with The Arc of Larimer County for years, serving on the Board of Directors and in leadership for People First, a self-advocacy group funded by The Arc of Larimer County. He served as President of Speaking For Ourselves, a statewide grassroots organization of people with disabilities and is a former Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC) fellow. Julian is passionate that technology can make life better for those who have disabilities. He is a member of the CYVYC Knowledge Translation work group and a member of the Youth Ambassador team.

Melody Cooper

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Melody Cooper is the past President of Self-Advocates of Indiana, a statewide advocacy organization that empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), and is the Self-Advocate Specialist for The Arc of Indiana. She travels around the state educating people with disabilities about their residential and employment options. Melody, who was born with cerebral palsy, graduated from Montgomery County High School, Mount Vernon, Georgia in 1988.

Her journey from Georgia to Indianapolis to becoming an advocate for people with disabilities is featured in the short film: Advocate for Change – Melody Cooper.

Michael Thornton

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Michael W. Thornton is an accomplished advocate who has dedicated his career to advancing the rights of people with disabilities. As an individual with an intellectual disability, Mr. Thornton has firsthand knowledge of the daily challenges individuals with disabilities face. He has been recognized throughout his career for his numerous outstanding contributions to the disability community. He is currently employed as the Self-Advocate Faculty Advisor of the Arkansas Leadership Education on Neurodevelopment and Related Disabilities (LEND) program. He serves as an at-large member and Public Policy Committee representative of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Board of Directors and is committed to promoting policies that support services and resources for people with disabilities and advance disability-related research.

Hasan Ko

Youth Ambassador Hasan Ko from Vermont

Hasan is a CYVYC Youth Ambassador Trainer and a Youth Ambassador from Vermont. He is also a leader of Green Mountain Self Advocates’ (GMSA) work on including people with disabilities from diverse backgrounds. Hasan says, “No matter where we come from, we have the right to be ourselves in our own way.” Hasan mentors peers in his local self-advocacy group. He represents GMSA on national projects.

Partners and Supporters

Hezzy Smith

Mathew “Hezzy” Smith is an attorney, a proud sibling, and Director of Advocacy Initiatives at the Harvard Law School Project on Disability.

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Tom Masseau is the Executive Director of Disability Rights Arkansas, and serves as a national advisor to SABE’s Board of Directors.  

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Ruby Moore is the Executive Director of the Georgia Advocacy Office, the designated Protection and Advocacy System for People with Disabilities in Georgia.

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Allison Cohen Hall is a Senior Research Associate/Project Director at the Institute for Community Inclusion. She is the director for the Center on Youth Voice, Youth Choice.

Renee Hall

Renee M. Hall is on staff with the Developmental Disabilities Council of Michigan as the Advisor to the Self-Advocates of Michigan.

Kat Chappell is an Advocacy Manager at The Arc of Indiana.