Since 1979 HMI has offered wrap-around support to LGBTQ youth who are brave enough to seek help on their paths to success. Though progress for the LGBT community at large has swelled and waned in recent times, through gains we only dreamed of and losses we couldn’t have imagined, HMI’s capacity for better serving LGBTQ youth in NYC and beyond has only grown.
Since the election, more young people under the age of 18 have been coming through our doors, and from a wider geographical range than we have seen in years. The demand for our work has unfortunately increased. But because of our staff and partners, and supporters like you, we can rise to the occasion.
This year, a new program with the Mayor’s office recognizes that incorporating mental health into the structure of an after-school program is an important ingredient for youth success. The Mayor’s Connections-to-Care program is not only reinforcing the work of HMI, but also sharing our promising-practices with other community based organizations whose clients might benefit from the paradigm of our mileu-based intervention. With this effort HMI has expanded our capacity for providing mental healthcare for the youth we serve, nearly 80% of whom have reported experiencing psychological trauma.
Through our initiative with the City Council, HMI GOES CITYWIDE FOR LGBTQ YOUTH, we conducted trainings for over 60 partner community based organizations. Central to this effort is a belief that we all benefit from more organizations serving our youth. To that end we have used this initiative to help expand our partners’ capacities for better serving and supporting LGBTQ youth, particularly from communities of color or immigrant backgrounds, from across all five boroughs.
Our first of its kind professional development day conference with the Department of Education, sponsored by the Chancellor of the Department of Education, engaged 150 teachers from 124 schools from all five boroughs. The workshops and panels were designed to work directly with teachers and principals to address the questions and struggles they are facing in how to make their schools safer and more supportive for LGBTQ youth.
This was certainly a year of growth and impact, and we leave it energized to forge ahead, working with LGBTQ youth and helping all of our partners benefit from these amazing 38 years of service.
I invite you to come in to see our work and how it’s grown and changed. Your support is what makes all of this possible, and at every step we are committed to making the most of the opportunity we have to stand together and serve those who need us most.
Chief Executive Office
Youth Services Department
For a young person who does not feel safe in the world or who does not have a community to call home, finding the space at HMI to be yourself, explore yourself, meet others like you, and gain access to mental and physical health, housing, academic and other vital resources, can be a life saving or life changing intervention.
Our goal is to assist young people on the journey from crisis to stability, and stability to success. We create and actualize all our programs through the lens of Trauma Informed Care, Positive Youth Development and Emotional Wellness.
To better serve our youth, Youth Services has adopted a seven tracks approach to better encompass and integrate the opportunities HMI offers the youth we serve.
We know that at Intake youth are often in crisis etc. Based on screenings done at intake, with a counselor, etc. we know:
- 92 out of 511 new youth have been to a psychiatric hospital in their lifetime (19%)
- 68 out of 511 new youth at HMI scored high on our alcohol screening (13%)
- 52 out of 511 new youth at HMI scored high on our drugs/substance use screening (10%)
- 84 out of 511 new youth at HMI scored high on our depression screening (16%)
- 401 out of 511 new youth at intake reported histories of trauma exposure, including abuse, neglect, domestic violence, sexual assault, and exhibited signs of PTSD (78%)
Wrap-Around supports, services and programs that operate within the milieu include:
- Health & Wellness
Practicing healthy living and learning how to protect yourself, your peers, and your community.
- Prevention Services
- HIV and STI testing, counseling, and support
- Health Counseling
- Referrals to LGBTQ doctors, clinics, and other providers
- Medicaid enrollment services
- Free condoms, internal condoms, and lube
- Groups and paid internships
- Academic EnrichmentFrom passing the High School Equivalency Exam to looking at Colleges and trade schools, HMI helps youth to reach their goals.
- Tutoring in all subjects
- College advisement including support with the application process and scholarships
- High School Equivalency Preparation Class and individualized case management for all students
- Job Readiness
Preparation and support for finding work and career-building. Our employment specialist(s) help with:
- Developing job skills
- Resume writing
- Finding gainful employment
- Internships and Externships
- Arts & Culture
Exploring and learning; visual, creative, and performing arts.
- Dance and Drama classes
- Open Art Studio
- Photography Internships
- Writing Workshops
- Expressive Art Therapy groups
- Member Navigation
HMI’s Member Navigators and youth leaders acting as Peer Orientation Workers (POWers) ensure that when they arrive at HMI, all youth are assisted with immediate needs and connected to staff case managers. Member Navigators facilitate youth in meeting their daily programmatic goals and make sure that everyone feels connected and included while in our space.
- Services to Homeless Youth
- Citywide Street Outreach
- Pantry Services (access to clean clothes, hot showers, toiletries, etc.)
- Case Management – Assistance in finding, securing, and sustaining supportive housing
- Drop-in harm-reduction support groups
- Assistance with finding legal support
- HIV support for Homeless Youth
- Mental Health Counseling & Case Management
We support youth in working towards emotional wellness in a safe and confidential environment.
Counseling sessions and support groups about a wide-range of challenges facing our youth:
- Depression, anxiety, and stress
- Substance use
- Health issues and safer-sex questions
- Relationships and family issues
- Coming out and gender identity exploration
- Experiences with Homophobia and Transphobia
- Verbal, sexual, psychological abuse, and domestic violence
- Family counseling
HIGHLIGHTED STATISTICS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2017
|Hot Meals||691 unduplicated youth8758 hot meals|
|HIV prevention and education services||400 youth members|
|HIV counseling, testing and referral||300 youth members accessed our STD prevention and treatment program|
|Academic Enrichment· Classes· One-on-one tutoring· College-prep||Over 458 young people benefitted from Extended Learning Time at HMI|
|HMI’s College Prep program||126 young people participated, a 22% increase from the prior year|
|Scholarships||Over 50 young people received financial support for higher learning(11 of whom were formerly homeless youth)|
|Job readiness program, which included workshops and mentorship opportunities on interview preparation, resume writing, financial literacy and dressing for success||· Over 200 young people participated in partnerships with more than 20 corporations· This # includes 146 HMI Sponsored paid internships And 70 fulltime external job placements|
|HMI’s Arts and Culture after school programs such as voice, dance, theater, expressive arts, creative writing, photography, painting and sculpture||More than 394 young people participated|
|Case management services- Assistance with housing- Legal Support- Connections to medical providers||465 unduplicated youth accessed 3441 services|
|Pantry Services- Showers- Clothing- Laundry||428 unduplicated youth received 3380 services:- 144 showers- 2419 clothing- 100 laundry|
|Street Outreach to Homeless Youth||10,450 “encounters”|
|Comprehensive mental health screenings||511 unduplicated youth|
|Mental health services through support groups, psycho-education, individual counseling, and harm reduction groups on-site at HMI||Over 212 youth members served|
- HMI was selected by the National Book-Up Foundationto be an anchor site of literacy for LGBTQ youth in the greater NY metropolitan area. This program brings literacy to life through innovative programming and citywide outreach to ensure the future edification of NYC’s marginalized and otherwise underserved LGBTQ youth.
- Partnering with La Mama, No Longer Empty, GALERIE Magazine, and The Village Alliance, on assorted projects and events, HMI youth artistshad several opportunities to participate in community events and mainstream art exhibit and gallery showings, demonstrating for them the real-life application of their skills and dreams as young artists and helping to build their artist portfolios.
- Tau Gammais a unique trans youth of color internship intensive that includes 8 weeks of internship and 8 weeks of externship, legal help, appropriate office behavior, and how to advocate for one’s self and LGBTQ best-practices in the work place, addressing the and preparing our young people for the distinct and varied challenges they will face as trans women of color.
- HMI employs some of the most skilled social workers in the field. We are in our 9thyear of our internship program and now work with both graduate and undergraduate students from schools including: Columbia, NYU, Fordham, Hunter, Adelphi, Boston University, Rutgers, and Brooklyn College.
- HMI maintains a partnership with the Urban Justice Centerto provide on-site legal clinics to our youth members who are experiencing homelessness on an appointment basis. In FY15 our staff linked 48 youth to legal services through this program.
- Family Counseling– Many parents, siblings and family friends struggle when a young person they know and love “comes out”, often lacking the resources and understanding needed to help a young person cope. HMI works tirelessly to re-build families, in addition to ongoing family counseling.
FY17 YSD Program Highlights
- Through being a recipient of the NYC Mayor’s Connections to Care grant, part of THRIVE NYC, youth-facing HMI staff, our tutors, teachers, even receptionists, have been trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid, so that they can recognize and address youth struggling with a mental health problem, and perform appropriate interventions to link youth to professional mental healthcare at HMI or elsewhere.
- Partnering with nine different clinical partners in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx to provide culturally competent medical services for our clients, HMI’s PrEP and PEP program provides individual education, counseling, and navigation services to people who are interested or in need of PrEP, PEP, or any other preventative HIV health service. Of the clients we have served in this program, 66% identify as people of color, 47% are 24 years old and under (73% are 30 years old and younger), and 50% are either uninsured or on Medicaid.
- As part of our Job Readiness Training internship programs, and through a partnership with Camp Maven, 19 of our young people participated in a week-long intensive, learning app development, coding, video editing, game development, and storytelling from industry leaders at companies like Tumblr, HBC, Pandora, AMEX and Google.
- HMI’s Open Arts Studio program led trips to The Met, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The 2017 Whitney Biennial, and more. Youth members were given the opportunity to engage with, critique, and be inspired by the artwork of contemporary artists of color and queer identities. Open Art Studio has also taken trips to Jamaica Queens and King’s County Hospital to see art exhibitions put on by No Longer Empty, Jameco Exchange and Art Zone CG 91. In March 2017, teaching artist Leesa Tabrizi was honored by the organization No Longer Empty at their annual benefit, this year entitled Building Dialogue. Tabrizi was recognized for her work as a teaching artist at HMI’s Open Art Studio program as well as for maintaining the partnership with NLE following their showcase collaboration with HMI, Be My Guest: The Art of Interiors.
- Through partnerships we have been able to expand our capacity for on-site services to better support our youth:
- The New York Food Bank has been coming twice monthly to help our young people enroll in getting food stamps
- Callen-Lorde Community Health Center staff comes weekly to help young people enroll in Medicaid; their Health Outreach to Teens (HOTT) mobile medical van comes to HMI twice monthly to provide primary care services to our youth
- The HEAT program comes twice weekly to provide HIV and STI screenings and education
- ACCESS-VR provides individualized intake on-site at HMI to enroll youth with disabilities in programs for vocational training and work opportunities
HMI Center for Advocacy and Capacity Building
Created in 2013, HMI’s Center for LGBTQ Youth Advocacy & Capacity Building, advocates on behalf of LGBTQ youth by influencing policy on local, national and international levels, while helping to build the capacity of decision-makers, individuals and institutions that serve this marginalized population.
Our Center is dedicated to sharing best practices for working with LGBTQ youth in all aspects of their life and addressing the disparities in services available to them. At the same time, we create forums for young people to be heard – giving voice to their personal stories and providing opportunities to become active participants in the systems that directly impact them. Through our Center, HMI extends decades of leadership in this field so that our experiences may serve as models and be replicated for those in need.
The Center for LGBTQ Youth Advocacy and Capacity Building helps establish safer schools, prevent bullying and victimization, develop more effective policies targeting the health and wellness of our young people, and promotes increased funding opportunities that better address the needs of LGBTQ youth.
Year 2 of HMI GOES CITYWIDE FOR LGBTQ YOUTH– a multi-prong program launched in partnership with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the LGBT Caucus of the City Council of New York to expand HMI’s services beyond 2 Astor Place and into all 5 boroughs, through the following five categories, and their related services, HMI provided more comprehensive mental health services for vulnerable LGBTQ youth throughout the City, focusing particularly on youth of color, youth in immigrant families, homeless youth, and youth who are court-involved.
Education & Outreach– Through borough specific summits in each of the five boroughs, consisting of workshops, networking, and cross-organization referral opportunities we aim to increase LGBTQ youth access to information and mental health services in their home boroughs
Kinship Support services– HMI developed a curriculum for Parent/Caregiver education on puberty that aims to de-stigmatize and normalize same-sex attraction and liberated gender identities
Government Capacity Building– HMI conducted a series of trainings to engage school safety, health-clinics and youth development staff to improve the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)’s abilities to better support programs that engage with LGBTQ youth
Training– HMI conducted trainings including a variety of themes and best –practices on creating supportive environments, strengthening partnerships, and building skills, to expand the knowledge and skills of staff at partner organizations to work with LGBTQ youth, HMI will conduct in-person trainings with our many partner organizations and CBOs
Direct Service Expansion– Through hiring additional staff, HMI grew its capacity for providing youth ongoing mental health and counseling services, including psychoeducation, individual and group counseling and support groups, case management and psychiatric consultations and evaluations
The Gender Institute
Also in FY17 HMI’s Center for Advocacy and Capacity Building developed and executed, in partnership with NYC’s Department of Education, “The Gender Institute.” Between November 2016 and March 2017, 13 trainings were held throughout the five boroughs. The curriculum was designed to help participants:
- Define gender in a way that is inclusive of all students
- Understand the situational challenges that Transgender and gender expansive students face in a school setting
- Learn about the historical shifts we have witness with gender
- Understand the Chancellor’s new regulations and the NYCDOE Transgender Guidelines
- Build the necessary skill set needed to address opposition towards school responsiveness of policies supporting the needs of transgender and gender expansive students.
Chancellor’s PD Day: LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Conference
On June 8th, HMI co-hosted the Chancellor’s Professional Development Day – a first of its kind conference on implementing a LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum. 150 educational professionals from 124 different NYC schools attended, to learn how to make their schools safer places for LGBTQ youth, and how to better incorporate LGBTQ cultural fluency and supportiveness into their educational programs and policies.
ThriveNYC– an initiative from the office of the Mayor’s wife – is a plan of action to guide the city toward a more effective and holistic system that outlines 54 initiatives, 23 of them new, to support the mental well-being of New Yorkers. Over 75 “Thrive” mental health consultants, working within DoE, participated in HMI’s Creating Safer and Inclusive Environmentstrainings in April, aimed to support participants in reviewing their current individual and organizational practices as well as effectively identifying how to transform their spaces into SAFER environments that enhance safety, inclusion, and empowerment.
HMI: New Jersey
We are extremely grateful to our first HMI: NJ Board Members for the guidance and commitment. We are always looking for people who are interested in supporting New Jersey’s youth in this way. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rolando Bobadilla, Board Treasurer, Essex County Chosen Freeholder
James Cotten, BASF
Lauren Craig, Esq., Board Secretary
John Heath Olguin, Board President, Vitamin Shoppe USA
Jeffrey Nelson, Verizon
Jeff Spelman, Retired IT Executive
Dan Zanella, Zanella Consulting, LLC.
BoD Profile – Wesley Powell
I began my relationship with HMI by attending the Emery Awards for several years; I eventually took a tour of the agency, which made me want to learn even more. It bothered me deeply that LGBTQ youth were such a drastically underserved and under-recognized segment of our community. I came to understand the level of poverty and marginalization so many of our LGBTQ youth experience, and I was determined to lend a hand to help them find a healthier and more supportive and loving path. Having my own children made me even more committed to helping LGBTQ youth access the mental health, education, and other support services HMI offered. It was always clear to me that no organization better serves these youth than HMI.
As I spent more time with the organization, I got to see the tangible difference it makes in the lives of the youth we serve – by providing hot meals, fresh clothing, HIV testing, mental and emotional support, educational support, job readiness training, and so much more. I know of no other place that wraps its arms arounds marginalized LGBTQ youth as HMI does. Even more, HMI trains these youth to be the community leaders of tomorrow. The organization’s impact on our community is incalculable. I am so proud to be a part of it.
Serving in leadership positions on HMI’s Board of Directors has made me appreciate more than ever the tremendous amount of hard work, talent and organizational skills required to run an organization like HMI, and I’ve learned to be a better leader. The experience has also taught me the importance of claiming civic responsibility… one person really can make a difference.
Staff Profile/Letter for FY17 Annual Report
I left Trinidad and Tobago and moved to New York when I was 17. I was on my own, had graduated High School, and was looking for a more exciting place. I was lucky because my family back home was very supportive of who I was and cheered me on. Today I’m a New Yorker with a backstory like everyone else, including walking into HMI with a friend one day in 2008 where I was in my first ball, “got my tens” and sat my first battle. Today I get to do something most others don’t: I walk into HMI every day able to change the lives of young people.
When I became staff here, I was an Educational Specialist and HIV and Outreach Specialist. I was a Member Navigator for a while, helping our young people find their way, get the services and programs they needed, and making sure HMI was a special place where they could be themselves and thrive. Today I work in our Youth Health Advocates (YHA) program.
For most of these youth, I am sharing information they’ve never been exposed to. Any time we enter someone’s life we teach them something – for me, being a part of the community, having briefly been homeless myself, having found a footing, I can show real empathy. For many of these youth this is life-changing – they know that with me and everyone here at HMI they have people who understand them, who get who they are – not just the challenges, but all of it. And that is why they can take in the information we share: they trust us.
When I am with my youth or working with staff to prepare programs, I reflect on my own experiences, the good and the bad, and I bring that to my interactions with members. I want them to know they’re not alone, and that this is a place they can let their guard down, be comfortable, and focus on what they need to succeed.
I’m not sure what the rest of the world thinks happens here, but when I was asked to write about a meaningful interaction I’ve had with youth members, the story that came to mind might not be what you expect. The moment that sticks with me is a conversation with my youth members about building credit. It seems like such a dry thing. But no one else is talking to them about credit, about their credit score, about how you build it, and how it impacts so much of what they’ll want to do later in life. After that session one intern opened a bank account and started saving for college, another has a strategy to build good credit so they can start a business.
What I think the world doesn’t understand is that when you face challenges at home, in school, on the street, it’s hard to go beyond survival. It’s hard to hear advice or to concentrate on learning. So even if someone is trying to talk to you about credit you can’t listen to it. But here, in our space, the world is safe, the staff understands you, we’re real with each other. We get that you may need food and clothing and a bed, and that you also need a place where you can learn, laugh, be creative and explore who you are. You need a place where there’s a ball every week, where you can walk, get your tens, and sat your first battle! I know a lot of you probably don’t know what that means: but trust me that it’s part of why our kids thrive. And I trust you – because even if you don’t know what “Walking Face” or “getting my tens” means, you’re supporting us and making sure we can do right by our youth. There are too many places our members are in every day, the spaces I’ve been in, that don’t support them. So thank you for making HMI the exception.
I first showed up in 2008, found my friends and my safe space. Today I’m a professional who helps others. And you help us all. That’s a culture of thriving I’m proud to be part of.
REACH & RENOWN
HMI events, campaigns and announcements were featured in dozens of local, regional and national publications in FY17 and our social media following more than doubled. We can approximate a total media reach of well over 20 million.
HMI enjoyed local, regional and national partnerships with outlets such as NBC OUT, iHeart Media, EDGE Media Network, Hamptons.com, as well as extensive earned media coverage in outlets such as NY1, WWD, Mic.com, and NY Nonprofit Media.
HMI’s signature fundraising events help the agency generate more than one-third of our entire operating budget. Our events attract some of the most influential people from industries ranging from fashion and finance to media and manufacturing.
Summer Camp– August 6, 2016
Held at the beautiful The Madison Fire Island Pines ad co-hosted by Mark Henderson, Ira Rogers, Nathan Urquhart, and Michael Snider, over 100 guests helped raise over $30,000.
Emery Awards– December 7, 2016
HMI’s signature fundraiser honors individuals and corporations for their support of HMI and the LGBTQ community. Held at Cipriani’s Wall Street, co-chaired by Alfredo Paredes, Wesley Powell, and Rochelle Weitzner, The 2016 Emery Awards raised nearly $1.3 million, and honored supporters Rob Smith, Facebook, and George Takei. The evening and guests enjoyed a featured performance by Andy Bell.
Fashion Pop-Up– March 31st
With clothing and accessories generously donated by fashion icon Nick Wooster, this 3 day sample sale at 740 Broadway raised over $20,000.
Jeffrey Fashion Cares– April 3, 2017
HMI is one of the beneficiaries of the Jeffrey Fashion Cares NYC event held at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Honoring Chris Salgardo and hosted by stylist and co-host of E!’s fashion police, Brad Goreski, event co-chairs Andrew Mitchell-Namdar, Brenner Thomas, and Phillips Nazro helped raise nearly $180,000 for HMI.
Women Who Lead– April 28, 2017
HMI’s inaugural women’s luncheon was co-hosted by Jeanne Feldhusen, Tenaja Jordan, Joan Katz, Bonnie Rabin, and Stephanie Rubin, honored Erika Karp – Founder & CEO of Cornerstone Capital, Fern Mallis – President of Fern Mallis LLC, and was Hosted by Bevy Smith – Host of Bevelations on SiriusXM’s RadioAndy. Held at W Union Square, over one hundred guests helped raise over $40,000.
School’s Out– June 17, 2017
Held at the East Hampton home of Lisa and James Cohen; the LGBTQ Hamptons fundraiser was co-hosted by Lisa Cohen, Margaret Russell, Tracy Anderson, Rosanna Scotto, and Martha Stewart, and co-chaired by Benjamin Dixon, Ward Williams, and Malcolm Kutner. Nearly five hundred guests raised more than $300,000, which help HMI to provide youth with critical programs and life-saving services throughout the summer months.