On a regular basis, we will be featuring stories about the remarkable people who make up the leadership of SANYS.  You'll see that they all share one thing in common - the courage to speak up! [caption id="attachment_2722" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Michael Kennedy, Grassroots Presenter Michael Kennedy, Grassroots Presenter[/caption] Michael Kennedy is a strongly committed self-advocate whose strength and determination have helped him accomplish his most treasured goal – leaving three New York State institutions behind. He and his wife of twenty-one years reside in North Syracuse, NY and he is a proud and successful member of his community. Michael began his career working at the National Resource Center on Community Integration at Syracuse University’s Center on Human Policy in 1983 and worked there until 2004. He has worked with the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State since 1990 through the present.   Michael loves his job as a SANYS Grassroots Presenter because he has the opportunity to show others with disabilities that they have the right to live like everyone else.  He makes himself available to anyone who needs the self-confidence, strength, and knowledge to become their own self-advocate. Michael has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to provide information regarding the appropriate resources to those seeking to improve their lives through self-advocacy. Helping individuals with developmental disabilities form their own self-advocacy groups has been one of Michael's main areas of focus and he would like to also share his self-advocacy expertise with those in the mental health field. Michael is the published author of numerous articles on Self-Advocacy. He published his autobiography, My Life In Institutions And My Way Out, in June of 2014 with the goal of being an inspiration to others with any type of disability, be it physical or mental.