Celebrating Sherilyn Adams
20 Years of Visionary Leadership
Two Decades at Larkin Street: The WakeUp Call that Shaped Our Direction
Reflecting on the past twenty years at Larkin Street, it became increasingly clear that a significant number of young people were in need yet remained unseen. This realization highlighted the necessity for us to enhance our efforts. The challenge was not only the scarcity of resources but also fully comprehending the experiences of young people. The turning point came when Mayor Newsom initiated a task force dedicated to thoroughly understanding the needs of our transition-aged youth. The findings were revelatory, particularly the urgent need for housing support among these young people. This served as a crucial wake-up call, significantly influencing the future direction and focus of Larkin Street.
Adapting to Serve: How Larkin Street’s Mission Evolves with Youth Feedback and Innovation
Our core mission calls on us to take bold steps. This involves creating opportunities for young people to express their needs. We place great importance on listening to their voices and firmly believing in their strength and wisdom. When they express a desire for additional educational support, alternative housing options beyond the Tenderloin, or address affordability challenges, we promptly respond. Our approach includes offering subsidies, facilitating rapid rehousing, and enhancing our behavioral health services, reflecting our adaptability and growth. Their feedback is invaluable, guiding our effectiveness, identifying areas for improvement, and shaping our support strategies. Larkin Street consistently strives to integrate innovation with our core principles, and this process is rooted in actively listening to the young people we serve.
Reflecting on Collective Achievements: Evolving Housing Strategies at Larkin Street
Behind each success at Larkin Street has been a dedicated team. When I began my tenure, I introduced the concept of scattered site housing, a new venture for us at the time. What fills me with the most pride is our ability to expand and diversify our housing options, embracing change and learning from both successes and failures. We’ve had moments of realization where we needed to listen more attentively to the young people we serve and our team members. These insights allowed us to refine and improve our approach. Today, the variety of housing choices we offer is a testament to our collective effort. Additionally, the widespread use of the term ‘TAY’ (Transition Aged Youth) in our sector, while not coined by us, has been significantly popularized through our efforts, reflecting our influence in the field.
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