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A Reflection - SASO's August Brown Bag

August 23, 2017

Disclaimer: All writings, photos, memes, videos, etc. included on the SASO blog page only reflect the personal opinions of the author and speakers. These personal opinions do not reflect upon the opinions of SASO as an agency in any way.

If you have concerns, questions, comments, or ideas, email Laura,


About the Brown Bags:

SASO Cultural Outreach program works to create inclusivity and fill the gaps with under-served and marginalized populations in the Durango area. The ‘Brown Bag’ was created as a part of the Finding Common Ground concept through SASO; with the idea that we all have time for a quick lunch break, so we bring a lunch, while listening and learning during a presentation. Brown Bag lunches are filmed via Facebook Live, and streamed to our Facebook page, SASO Staff. The space within the comments section on the live stream, or the Brown Bag event page, is the best way to get questions answered by the presenters. Feel free to ask questions afterwards, as we all process information differently and we will do our best to always answer. Melody, the Cultural Outreach Coordinator, would be happy to hear from the community. Reach out to


This month Tara Kiene, CEO with Community Connections here in Durango, discussed ideas with community members about how best, as service providers and community members alike, to serve fellow community members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Community Connections mission is to create opportunities for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead healthy and fulfilling lives within our community.


Beginning with a brief activity, Tara asked the room to think of their daily lives… all the moving pieces that go into their weeks… and then to imagine someone they know with an intellectual or developmental disability, and what their day to day life would be. She asked us to think of what the differences would be, and what it would take to make the two sets of lives mirror each other.




“Really, Community Connections works to create the same sorts of opportunities, ball games, jobs, travel. . . . one take away I would like you to have from today would be to get people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have the same day to day life as those without.”  



Tara noted that at Community Connections’ “First step is finding those dreams, what they are and then turning them into goals”. The discussion turned into a small group activity, and each group was asked to think of three barriers that a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities faces. We then talked about those barriers in a large group, and classified them as critical, Helping individuals find community presence and participation, while connecting with other community members to develop natural support networks, as well as knowing resources available, were all ideas discussed by the audience. The idea, Tara said, is to “presume they can, until they say to you they can’t”.




With representatives from many agencies, Adult Protective Services and Southwest Center for Independence included, as well as public community members, the discussions could’ve easily gone on longer! It was informative without being an over load of information. Shout out to Community Connections, Tara, and Melody. Thank you for all you do! I will leave you with this quote from Tara…


“A lot of times the best thing we can do as service providers is get out of the way, and let people thrive”




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