SKILL Program

Sharing Knowledge to Increase Leadership and Learning

In 2015, Health Initiatives for Youth (HIFY) introduced a new health empowerment program. Aimed at high-school age at-risk youth in the Bay Area, SKILL is a 10-12 session trauma-aware afterschool program that engages participants in real conversations about their lives, relationships, emotions, and risk. It’s designed to empower youth and reduce rates of STI transmission as well as substance abuse and other unwanted outcomes. Youth are welcome to bring their friends, and they will receive food and gift cards for their attendance!

This five-year HIV Prevention Program is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The SKILL Program has three elements:

  • A direct service, a group intervention with at-risk youth
    • Based on the “Street Smart” EBI
    • Goal of 350 youth graduated over five years
    • Evaluated via Pre-, Post, and Follow-up surveys
  • Two indirect services:
    • A capacity-building project to train adults who work with those youth
      • Free four-hour professional development trainings for adult staff of organizations that host SKILL groups
      • Classed as an environmental strategy aimed at environmental influencers
      • Goal of 75 adults trained over five years
    • A free Risk Reduction Resource Kit distribution project
      • Also classed as an environmental strategy aimed at environmental influencers
      • Kits available to any youth-serving organization for use in waiting rooms, common areas, etc.
      • Evaluated via an annual survey distributed to organizations’ youth clients to measure youth awareness of risk

Since SKILL is federally funded, there’s no charge to schools or organizations who want to host the program. As long as eight or more youth are interested in participating, HIFY will send out two culturally competent trainers and bring along all the required activities, supplies and incentives. All schools or organizations have to do is provide a space for the program and work together with HIFY to recruit the participants.

SKILL Curriculum Outline

(1) Introduction, Group Agreements, and Intake Survey

(2) Life Mapping, Strengths & Risk Awareness

(3) Trust-building & Acknowledging Trauma

(4) Coping Mechanisms & Self-Care

(5) Sexuality and Risk

(6)* STIs & HIV

(7)* Substance Use and Drug Effects

(8) Triggers & Decision-making

(9)* Negotiation & Healthy Relationships

(10)* Clinic Field Trip

(11) Goal-Setting (and make-up session)

(12) Exit Survey, Graduation, and Appreciation

* = modular sessions; adjustable depending on the needs of a site

Working with HIFY

If your school or organization is interested in hosting a SKILL cohort, contact or 415-274-1970. Cohorts run on a semester schedule – some in Fall, some in Spring, and some on an accelerated schedule in the summer. We are happy to partner with any Bay Area organization with high-school aged youth who could benefit from the program!