Project SALT (Self-Advocate Leadership Training) is an experiential 3-day intensive leadership program that teaches individuals with disabilities strategies to advocate for themselves, others and affect larger systems change. Our vision is to produce an ever-growing cadre of individuals with the capacity for self-determination, independence and the ability to participate in their communities in meaningful ways.
This project is awesome for many reasons. Mainly because it teaches people with disabilities to stand up for their rights, find their voice and improve their advocacy skills. People with disabilities want to study, get jobs, have careers, vote and even run for public office. They want to be included. This is a leadership program created by people with disabilities for people with disabilities and led by people with disabilities. There is a motto in the disability world stating, “nothing about us, without us.”
Thus far, the program has trained over 50 individuals with disabilities, both visible and invisible. Our model is a train the trainer model. Five graduates demonstrated exemplary leadership and are now acting as a SALT trainer. Since completing SALT, six are on a non-profit board, ten have gained employment, and two live on their own. This is exceptional because the majority of young adults with disabilities (cognitive, sensory and/or physical) have high rates of unemployment, therefore making it harder to live independently.
According to one of our graduates, “After I was diagnosed with my disability, I became so focused on my autism, that it wasn’t until I did Project SALT that I became aware of other people’s disabilities. I began to see a broader picture. I went from the ‘me’ to the ‘we’. I now not only advocate for myself, I advocate for others.”
Funded by Miami, FL (October 2019)