LGBT youth program to open in Lehigh Valley


The ribbon will be cut next week on a pioneering new LGBT youth center in Pennsylvania. 

Project SILK Lehigh Valley is the product of a partnership between Valley Youth House and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. It is being funded through a $250,000 grant from HIV Prevention & Care Project.

The LGBT youth-empowerment program will officially open its doors Feb. 20. 

Project SILK will be housed within Bradbury-Sullivan in Allentown. The program will be headquartered in the building’s first floor, a 2,000 square-foot space that was previously vacant.

The program will follow a recreation-based, safe-space model to provide afterschool activities for LGBT youth in the region, with a specific focus on HIV prevention among youth of color. It will cater to ages 14-21, with programming available from 3-7 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

Project SILK is the first professionally staffed LGBT-youth program in the Lehigh Valley.     

“This is a great opportunity to partner with the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center to provide programs to an underserved population in the Lehigh Valley,” said Andrew Palomo, Valley Youth House research & evaluation coordinator and program supervisor. “This collaborative effort remains true to Valley Youth House’s mission of being inclusive by providing services to all youth and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the LGBTQIA community in our area.”

“Addressing the needs of LGBT youth in our community is critical to our mission of supporting the local LGBT community,” added Adrian Shanker, executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. “Supporting LGBT youth in their leadership and identity development and providing LGBT health and wellness for LGBT youth makes us proud to partner with Valley Youth House on this exciting program.”

The public is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house 3 p.m. Feb. 20 at 522 W. Maple St., Allentown. Speakers will include Shanker, Valley Youth House President & CEO Thomas Harrington, Bradbury-Sullivan Youth Programs Manager Kim Ketterer and a local youth.