Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hetrick-Martin Institute: Providing Safe Environments for LGBTQ Youth

Hetrick-Martin Institute believes all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential. 

Hetrick-Martin creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 13-24 and their families.
In 1979, life partners and educators on gay and lesbian issues, Dr. Emery Hetrick, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Damien Martin, a professor at New York University, heard the heartbreaking story of a homeless 15-year-old boy who had been beaten and thrown out of his emergency shelter because he was gay. Inspired by this they choose to do something.

37 years later, Thomas Krever, CEO continues to champion their mission and leads this organization while he and his team work to establish HMI as the blueprint for other cities to address the needs of underserved, at-risk youth. Since assuming the role of leader in 2007, his goal has been to strategically create best practices that other cities and organizations can replicate. In the past year he has increased that vision to include “how can New York City become the city that other cities emulate around LGBT matters, specifically around the needs of LGBT youth."

Thomas Krever, CEO
Hedrick-Martin Institute

“The fundamental belief that guides each of us here at Hetrick-Martin is that young people, when given the opportunity, sufficient resources, and love can develop the tools and confidence to take charge of their lives and chart a course for successful futures” – Thomas Krever, Chief Executive Officer

Thomas was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to share with me the various ways in which HMI is leading youth service organizations in identifying best practices and inspiring service communities across the country and key areas around the globe.

What is new at HMI?

HMI has been in close partnership with New York City Council to develop a series of best practices and replicable models based on its 37 years of working with at-risk youth.

We created PRISM – Potential Realization of Youth Service Model – This fee for service model helps sustain the organization, ensuring we are able to keep running and enables us to continue to provide our services. It’s an organizational tool that agencies use to work with their leadership in identifying 5 key areas around organizational readiness to create LGBT inclusive spaces.

Physical Environment - because it’s more than having a rainbow sticker on the door before we can feel safe. We look at the physical space -what can organizations do physically so when you walk in you immediately understand that you’re welcomed.

Policies & Procedures – what policies and procedures are on paper. What Policies and Procedures can we put forth proactively to ensure that we are not waiting for a shoe to drop.

Pragmatic – What is the actual culture of an organization? What is the culture of that organization around LGBT inclusivity?

Professional Development – How are organizations developing staff and volunteers alike. What development tools are available for volunteers, for staff? How do you on board and reach out to potential LGBT hires? How do you orient them what is your plan to integrate them into the culture? How do you continue to support them? How professionally do they engage clients and customers?

We have utilized the PRISM SCAN tools with 11 youth runaway shelters across the city and worked with their leadership to ensure that their shelter culture is LGBT inclusive. We’re working with ConEdison to look at their policies because they have people of Trans experience, who are transitioning, and examining how the workplace environment supports that and how does ConEd keep them safe.

As HMI expands its services, it is also branching out. Tell us about what is happening in New Jersey?

I’m excited to talk about this. HMI has adopted the federated model. This is very important and exciting because there is not one LGBT organization that crosses state lines whose mission is youth serving that provides direct services. I’m very proud to say we this year will mark the first anniversary for HMI New Jersey (a 501(c)3) operating in Newark, New Jersey. This is a historic moment for our community to have a youth service organization in both NY and NJ under the same brand doing direct services.

Being a blueprint for developing sustainable support for LGBT youth has always been a vision. Please share how you are impacting other communities and countries?

I’m proud of our National Capacity Building & Training Center. We are in partnership with the State Department, USAID, as a recognized training site for traveling dignitaries in which HMI is called upon to conduct trainings forums, etc. for these visitors on how to create a non-profit or start an NGO in their community or country. HMI trains on how to build safe and supportive environments for your LGBT youth. Some of the countries HMI has conducted trainings for are Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, and across Africa.

This past year has been full of “firsts” for HMI, tell us about some of those achievements.
  • HMI is now opened on Saturdays. From 10 am – 8pm. We have always had the need but not the funding, that is until now and we could not be more thrilled.
  • Cy Vance, Manhattan DA, met with HMI to discuss how the model of swim and gym is not culturally appropriate for the LGBT youth. This meeting led to HMI being the first LGBT youth organization to receive forfeiture money to develop LGBT culturally appropriate programming.
  • This summer will be another historic first as all of our programming, best practices, codified in a how to manual. This offers an opportunity to new or existing organizations learn from our 37 years’ worth of experience. We will be able to provide a blue print on how to create 360° comprehensive youth service model for other organizations.
  • Doubled outreach to all five boroughs. Two teams actively going out and working with members of city council to identify where in their districts’ LGBT youth are congregating, what’s going on and actively going out to all parts of the city and bringing them back for meals and services.

Do you still do the pantry?

Yes, more than ever. We are serving more youth each year so all donations to the pantry are welcomed.

What is “HMI is Citywide?"

HMI is Citywide – young people led summits across all boroughs. The summits are in partnership with local community organizations and over 20 city agencies. The goal is to reduce isolation and connect young people to care. Whether it is getting a municipal identification, or simply connecting the youth to local community organizations. The goal is to connect them to their community. The most impressive observations where how connected the young people are and how resilient they are in the face of adversity.

What’s next for HMI?

New York Times released top things to do this summer and HMI School’s Out event in the Hampton’s was #3

Read More

Read More

What are some of the ways in which nglccNY membership can help support the work of HMI?

We offer HS equivalency program and are currently in need of tutors for math and language arts. They can go to our website for volunteer opportunities. Check back regularly because needs change often.

People often think HMI and Harvey Milk High School are the same, what is the difference?

The Harvey Milk High School (HMHS) is a four-year, fully accredited, inclusive voluntary public high school, named in honor of gay-rights champion and groundbreaking San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. The HMHS door is open for all students, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or physical abilities. HMHS resides within HMI and is wholly operated by the NYC Department of Education.

Hetrick-Martin's role in every small public school in NYC adopts a community-based organization as lead partner. The Hetrick-Martin Institute is that host agency for HMHS. That means Hetrick-Martin manages the school facility and uses the facility for after-school programs and supportive services. But it is the New York City Department of Education that operates the school, and accepts applications for prospective students.

What is your message to the universe?

“Be open to the possibilities."

You can connect with Thomas at the June 14th M3 or HMI via the following:

Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion, NGLCCNY
Organizational Development Consultant, Strategic Remedy Group

Intersted in being featured? Please contact me at ingrid@NGLCCNY.org


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