Larkin Street Youth Services
For nearly 30 years, Sherilyn Adams has dedicated her career to the non-profit sector, focusing on issues of child abuse and neglect, family violence, mental health, substance abuse and homelessness. The first member of her family to attend college, Sherilyn’s early life was touched by violence, mental illness and substance abuse. Despite these early challenges, the presence of positive adult role models and mentors put her on a pathway to college and career success. This personal history is part of what drives her to be a catalyst for change in the lives of at-risk populations.
Before joining Larkin Street Youth Services in 2003, Sherilyn’s professional career spanned a variety of non-profits, including child sexual abuse treatment, a domestic violence shelter, adolescent outpatient programs and residential treatment for adults. She worked for family and probate court and served as both a domestic violence and rape crisis counselor. Addressing the impacts of violence and trauma is a consistent theme throughout her career, and the diversity of venues through which she’s done this work offers a unique perspective on programs, systems and services. Sherilyn’s experience enables her to attack entrenched problems from all angles, and her commitment to evidence-based, replicable service models is helping elevate the field.
Sherilyn’s accomplishments are considerable. In Sacramento, she launched a comprehensive outpatient treatment program for pregnant and parenting women with children under age five, as well as a child abuse prevention program in seven school districts. In San Francisco, she helped expand community-based housing and supportive services for dually- and triply-diagnosed adults. At Larkin Street, she has led the agency through tremendous growth, nearly tripling the number of housing beds for youth over the past ten years, and putting Larkin Street at the vanguard of the field for its innovative multi-service model to resolve youth homelessness. The accolades Sherilyn has collected over the years are a testament to her impact on the field. Locally, she has been celebrated as one of the Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs and Most Influential Women in Business. In 2012, the White House honored her as a “Champion for Change in the Fight Against Youth Homelessness.” In 2015, Mayor Lee honored Sherilyn as one of the courageous leaders changing the lives of San Franciscans. In 2019, Sherilyn was selected by the prestigious James Irvine Foundation as a recipient of their annual Leadership Award.