Project Silk’s patient-driven approach engages clients and elicits their advice on program design and service delivery. Providing a stigma-free space is a core component of Project Silk’s successful peer–driven community health model.
Target Population and Services
LGBTQ youth, ages 13-24. Services include: safe spaces Youth Advisory Board; House Ball events; shower facilities; educational workshops; HIV/STI counseling, testing, and referral services; mental health counseling; food pantry; linkage to care; outreach and recruitment; and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) referral services.
Youth Advisory Board
The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) has been active since 2013 and exists as an informal mentoring/volunteer program. There are currently nine elected members who range between the ages of 21–25. Project Silk’s Sexual Health Specialist facilitates and oversees monthly YAB meetings and activities, while core members of the group serve in leadership roles. The YAB follows group by-laws, voting protocols, and has a formal mechanism to provide feedback on service provision. In addition, Project Silk relies on the YAB members to assist with event planning and to coordinate outreach strategies for disseminating sexual-health messaging and to recruit new members into the program.
Project Silk recognizes that individual development opportunities increase youth involvement and impact self-efficacy, health knowledge, and valuable community engagement. Youth members are encouraged to invest in their individual personal and emotional development. Project Silk hosts a life-skills group on Wednesdays, "Silky Thursdays," and "Freestyle Fridays."