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Don’t miss out on this engaging sit-down with Sultan Shakir, Executive Director of SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), and Alan Thornton, President & CEO of SJCS as they discuss SMYAL’s critical work with LGBTQ homeless youth. SMYAL is a 35-year-old organization that was founded in DC to stop the institutionalization of LGBTQ homeless youth. Committed to social change, SMYAL builds, sustains, and advocates for programs, policies, and services that LGBTQ youth need as they grow into adulthood. “We try to look at how we holistically support young people,” Sultan shares, “We identify their barriers, and help them to work through and overcome them… so they can transition out of homelessness to independence.”

An important community leader, Sultan provides valuable insights on topics we should all be talking more about: LGTBQ Youth issues, homelessness, and black lives matter, and how as a community we can continue to stay engaged and stay involved in these times of potentially significant change in our country. Let’s acknowledge the mistakes of our past. Let’s learn the important lessons. Let’s make the necessary changes, in ourselves, our communities, and our country so we can all be advocates for inclusion and so that we can all live our best lives together.

SJCS strongly believes that regardless of an individual’s circumstance, whether that be economic status, race, religion, age, mental or physical disability, sex, sexual orientation or identity⁠—the people we serve, our employees and those we encounter in the communities we serve, deserve the right and opportunity to live their best lives. Our video series Advocates for All, are compilations of candid, personal and in-depth interviews with individuals sharing their experiences, ideas, and thoughts on what it means to be an advocate, an ally, and a member of our incredibly diverse community.

We are St. John’s Community Services and we are Advocates for All!

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