Building One Another Up to Be Advocates in the Community
In addition to training peer support and pet assistance volunteers, Shanti provides support to the San Francisco HIV Community Planning Council and, in partnership with Ladybird Morgan, provided training and support within the Brother’s Keepers Project at San Quentin for a number of years.
The San Francisco EMA HIV Community Planning Council (HCPC)
Shanti provides administrative and needs assessment support to the San Francisco HIV Community Planning Council. The HCPC guides use of federal HIV care funding for San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties and gives recommendations for use of HIV prevention funds. The council is composed of community members, service providers, and government appointees. Recent efforts include collaborating on use of federal Ending the HIV Epidemic dollars and directing funding towards medication lockers for homeless individuals and durable medical equipment for seniors. Shanti staff members coordinate meetings, provide educational and process tools, maintain the HCPC website, train and support members (many who are dealing with their own HIV-related struggles), and conduct focus groups to inform council members of current challenges across multiple communities. Annually, Shanti staff provides a large-scale needs assessment with qualitative and quantitative information gathered during individual and group interviews.
The needs assessment target for 2020 is Youth. Up to 50 HIV+ youth (21 years of age and younger) will be surveyed on their ongoing needs, challenges, and thoughts on the system of HIV care. Focus will be on access to care and quality of care, as well as any substance use and/or mental health challenges this community may be facing. Qualitative and quantitative data will be analyzed and presented to the council, along with conclusions and recommendations on how to better serve this population.
San Quentin’s Brother’s Keepers
Brother’s Keepers is a peer support training program housed at San Quentin State Penitentiary, focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention. Graduates of the program provide peer support to other incarcerated individuals in acute crisis. The training’s components include the basics of peer counseling, trauma-informed care, grief and loss counseling, rape crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and cultural humility. The program also includes ongoing, regular case conferences with its graduates. The program has demonstrated success not only in reducing the suicide rate in San Quentin but also aiding its graduates on the path to parole. The program has trained dozens of incarcerated men who, in turn, have provided peer support and crisis intervention to hundreds more of their fellows. Brother’s Keepers is run by Shanti staff member David Jordan (Lead Facilitator/Curriculum Development) and Ladybird Morgan (Executive Director, Humane Prison Hospice Project).
– Mark Molnar, Director, Volunteer & Community Support Services and Dave Jordan, Program Manager, HIV Community Planning Council