Survivors On Our Own was preceded by ACT (Advocates Coming
Together), which was established in 1981 by Charles Simmons and continues through 1983.
This group met in each others homes and finally at the Maricopa County Mental Health Annex. When the leaders health failed the group was unable to continue and disbanded.
the ACT group reformed as Survivors On Our Own and they began meeting providing a consumer run peer support system. Meeting notices appeared in the Phoenix Gazette and we were on our way.
SOON contracted with CODAMA for $5,000. With this funding SOON started the incorporation
process and opened their first bank account. The first true drive to increase
membership got underway.
next two years the services at SOON were expanded to include not only peer groups but recreational activities as well. SOON began meeting at the Projects Arts Building.
incorporated in September of 1987 and elected their first board of directors. All
directors were SMI consumers. SOON became very involved in advocacy and continued
to serve its members.
SOON received its 501C3 designation from the IRS and started receiving significant funding from CODAMA and The Community Special
Project fund. The membership really started feeling part of the team and the
groups identity as a consumer run drop-in center emerged.
SOON moved to three small cottages behind the State Hospital and found a home for the next ten years. During this time SOON was able to provide employment for many consumers as Peer Program Assistants as well
as program managers.
period really shaped SOON to what it is today. Membership continued to grow. Additional services such as meals, food share, clothing closet and adult education
classes all began in this period of time.
the membership under the leadership of the first non-consumer executive director changes its bylaws to allow non-consumers
to serve on the Board of Directors. The new directors had an instant impact on
the funding SOON received from the community at large. The Board remains today
a mixture of both consumers and non-consumers; this mix is working very well for SOON.
Legislature approved the building of the new State Hospital SOON was forced to find a new location. The clubhouse was relocated to a freestanding building and a lease-purchase agreement was signed. Where SOON had previously paid only $3.00 per year for rent, we now are paying $24,000
with 20% of that amount going toward the purchase of the building. We have until
October 2003 to complete this purchase.
currently serving over 350 members and is growing every day. We are serving over
1000 meals each month and providing food share and clothing to all in need. As
we expand our membership and services we must also broaden our funding base and look to the community for help.