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Our Youth Initiative

A safe space model for STD intervention for at-risk youth of ages 13-21. The program provides youth with leadership and decision-making authority to promote sexual health testing directly to their peers. Many of the underserved youth in our communities are homeless or housing insecure and statistically at high-risk for STDs. Lack of familial and school support, combined with a lack of comprehensive in-school sex education means our initiative is essential for STD prevention, education, testing, and linkages to care.
Through these mentoring relationships, CAN Community Health’s Youth Initiative, aims to promote resiliency and social capital among sexual and gender minority youth with multiple vulnerabilities and risk factors for adverse psychosocial and biomedical outcomes, including social marginalization, victimization, substance abuse, mental health concerns, school dropout, poverty, and persistent homelessness, which contribute substantially to elevated risk for HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and adverse physical and mental health outcomes.

This program will offer high quality mentoring relationships for sexual and gender minority youth, which are intended to provide enhanced support and promote resiliency to offset the stressors these youth encounter as a part of child welfare and/or juvenile justice systems, including the additional burden of minority stress encountered by sexual and gender minority youth. Having a stable, positive relationship with one or more adult role models contributes to healthy self-esteem development, confidence, and development of prosocial skills for youth in general and especially critical for vulnerable youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

• Educate youth about safe and proven strategies to reduce the risk of HIV and other STDs;
• Engage their specific target population (young MSM and young trans women of color) with peer-driven HIV testing and to utilize treatment as prevention strategies to reduce the spread of HIV; and
• To develop youth leadership in health advocacy by teaching program participants how to be their own health care advocates.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR YOUTH INITIATIVE