The Arc Minnesota is connected to many different self-advocacy groups around the state. We have programs entirely run through The Arc Minnesota, as well as programs we partner with. You can use this list to connect with self-advocacy groups in your area.

Self-advocacy is using your power to advocate for yourself and to educate others to do the same. Self-advocacy groups are great for connecting with other self-advocates, learning, and making friends. There are groups statewide, as well as groups that meet virtually.

You can find events hosted by The Arc Minnesota by exploring our events calendar.

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The Arc Minnesota | Self-Advocates of Minnesota (SAM) | People First
Aktion Club | Other Groups

The Arc Minnesota

Mission: The Arc Minnesota promotes and protects the human rights of people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities, actively supporting them and their families in a lifetime
of full inclusion and participation in their communities.

Self-Advocacy Advisory Committee (SAAC)

Region: Metro Area (currently virtual on Zoom, open to everyone)

Self-advocacy is using your power to advocate for yourself and to educate others to do the same. If you want to grow as a self-advocate, The Arc Minnesota can help with our Self-Advocacy Advisory Committee.

For more info email or explore our events calendar.

Virtual Happy Hour

Region: Statewide (virtual on Zoom)

Weekly meetings with self-advocates and allies to connect, share, and have fun! Happens every other Thursday from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM.

For more info email or explore our events calendar.

Calling All Self-Advocates

Region: Statewide (virtual on Zoom)

Self-advocates and people with disabilities are invited to to learn, connect and discuss topics that affect your lives and communities. These meetings happen every other month.

For more info email or explore our events calendar.

Other events

Region: Statewide

We have virtual movie nights monthly. Each region has great local events to offer like dances, game nights, craft nights, community events and more.

Check out our events calendar for the latest events in your area.

Self-Advocates of Minnesota (SAM)

Self-Advocates Minnesota (SAM) is a network of self-advocacy groups from all around the state. Advocating Change Together (ACT) formed SAM in 2007. Today, more than 50 SAM groups around Minnesota are connected and working together. ACT continues to support, fund, and administer the SAM network and its Leadership Circle. The state is divided into six SAM regions.

Each region works with its member groups to build personal power, connect to the disability rights movement, and make community changes. All six regions also meet once a year to share best practices and accomplishments.

You can find some SAM meetings on our events calendar.

SAM Southeast

For more info contact The Arc Minnesota at

SAM Southwest

For more info contact Wilbur Neushwander-Frink at

Central Region SAM

Physical meetings take place in Cambridge, Minnesota, 55008.

For more info contact Maggie Triechel at 651-641-0297 or

Northwest Region SAM

For more info contact Carla Tice at or Bev Kaler at 651-641-0297

Northeast Region SAM

For more info contact Summer Thomas at

Advocating Change Together (ACT)

For more info contact Mary Kay Kennedy at 651-641-0297 or

ACT’s office is located at:
1821 University Avenue, Suite 306-S
St.Paul, MN 55104

People First

People First Groups are often known as self-advocacy groups. They are groups of people with disabilities who speak up for themselves and work to improve the lives of their members. The People First movement started during the planning for a self-advocacy conference in 1974. This was held in Oregon in the United States.

Metro Region

People First Big Lake and Buffalo

  • For more info contact Bev Kaler at 320-240-9550
  • Held at 6112 322nd St., St. Cloud, MN 56303

Southeast Region

Winona People First

  • For more info contact Cheryl and Sandy Gardner-Ghionzoli at

Southwest Region

People First of Cottonwood County

People First of Faribault County

People First of Jackson County

People First of Lyon County

People First of Mankato

People First Martin County

People First of New Ulm

People First of Nobles County

People First of Redwood County

People First of Rock County

Aktion Club

Aktion Club is the only service club for adults with disabilities. It has more than 12,000 members worldwide. Aktion Club is supported at the district level and by the Kiwanis International Office in Indianapolis, Indiana. It provides programs, literature, and opportunities to relate to individuals with disabilities from countries worldwide.

Motto: Where development has no disability.
Vision: To develop competent, capable, caring leaders through the vehicle of service.

Aktion Club Theatre of Mankato and

Region: Southwest Minnesota

For more info contact Wilbur Neushwander-Frink at

Aktion Club of St. Peter

Region: Southwest Minnesota

For more info contact Wilbur Neushwander-Frink at

Other groups

Here are some other groups for self-advocates around the state.


Martin County: Different Drummer Dance Club

Pathstone Living Mankato

LIFE Mower County SE

  • For more info contact Jamey Helgeson at