Pamela S. Sheffer
Pam Sheffer is the Senior Director of Youth Action & Advocacy at Oasis Center and founder of the Just Us program for LGBTQ+ youth. After a lucrative 23-year career in corporate health insurance sales, Pam made a momentous decision to leave the corporate world and instead dedicate her life to creating system level changes for LGBTQ+ youth. She made it her new mission to ensure that LGBTQ+ young people could grow, thrive, and create positive change in their lives and communities. Pam spent a year working full time for the Oasis Center, conducting the necessary research and development to create a program designed specifically for LGBTQ+ youth. She built the infrastructure for the Just Us program in 2010-11 and collaborated with LGBTQ+ youth to develop the programming that is currently delivered. After securing the necessary funding to sustain the program, Pam launched Just Us in 2011.
Since 2011, Just Us has expanded programming from one program to five and has expanded in staff by three professionals who are providing positive youth development programming as well as therapeutic mental health services on a weekly basis to over 100 young people each year.
Over the past six years, Pam has focused exclusively on working with the systems of care where LGBTQ+ youth are marginalized and mistreated – public education, juvenile justice, and foster care. Pam approaches her systems level work through a truly southern perspective: build relationships, earn their trust, be invited to the table, and respectfully educate them. Through this approach, she has been successful in changing policy, mandating trainings, and creating allies in places of influence.