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Sex Workers and Allies Network (SWAN) has advocated for sex workers since our launch in 2016. From the start, we adopted the harm reduction philosophy of meeting people where they are at. The SWAN team has grown significantly over the last few years, now encompassing over 40 volunteers and about 50 community partners. Recent grant funding has provided the opportunity to expand services with a Mobile Outreach Van. In addition, SWAN members now have access to the new Leadership Development Program. 

SWAN’s Leadership Development Program is an extension of the model of mentorship that SWAN has used for on-the-job training for our on-foot outreach workers. In most instances, those positions have been on compensated with a modest stipend, but as SWAN has accessed larger pools of funding, we have been able to provide some paid positions. That opportunity for employment can be a big deal towards enhancing members’ self-efficacy.

Over the course of ten biweekly sessions, the Leadership Development Program introduces SWAN member to topics such as storytelling, self-directed goal planning, professional boundaries, diversity and dignity, mentorship, self-care, communications strategies, and advocacy. The goal of the Leadership Development Program is to develop self-determination of self-directed goals, self-awareness of one’s words and actions, self-reflection of past and present moments, and responsibility with a focus on positive outcomes and decisions. 

The advocacy portion of the program will expose SWAN members to events and community actions related to issues that impact their lives directly. We know that the best people to advocate for a solution are those closest to the issue. These opportunities will put into practice the skills learned through the Leadership Development Program.

SWAN hopes to provide more paid outreach positions for our Leadership Development Program participants. Donate today to make programs like this possible!