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The Hetrick-Martin Institute, Home of The Harvey Milk High School, 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 youth between the ages of 12 and 24 and their families.
Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, Hetrick-Martin seeks to foster healthy youth development. Hetrick-Martin's staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models.
The Hetrick-Martin Institute: The Past, Present and Future
In 1979, a 15 year-old boy living in a New York City group home was beaten and sexually assaulted by fellow residents. Group home staff members responded to the incident by blaming the victim- he was discharged and told that he would not have been attacked had he not been gay. When local community activists Emery S. Hetrick, a psychiatrist, and A. Damien Martin, a New York University professor, read about this tragedy, they realized there was a critical vacancy in the network of available social services. There existed a gap between this group of young people who desperately needed support and the services that should have been available to them. Hetrick and Martin marshaled support from concerned community members and youth servicing professionals, founding the Institute for Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth, renamed The Hetrick-Martin Institute in their honor after their deaths.
Since its founding, The Hetrick-Martin Institute has grown from a small, volunteer-led grass-roots advocacy organization into a leading professional provider of social support and programming for all at-risk youth, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Hetrick-Martin youth Members, ranging in age from 12 to 21, come from 172 zip codes throughout all of New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. They are of all colors and sizes, come from all kinds of backgrounds, and have more enthusiasm and creativity than can be imagined.
Hetrick-Martin's flagship program is The Harvey Milk High School, founded in 1985 in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education, which administers the school and is responsible for admissions. The School is the first and largest of its kind in the world- a public school devoted to fulfilling the specific needs of at-risk youth. Hetrick-Martin's goal is to provide each young person with the skills and support necessary to move safely through adolescence and successfully into the realms of higher education, career, and life.
The After-School Services Department provides an enormous range of supplementary activities and programming, which reach a considerably greater number of youth. Rooted in the idea of providing an alternative safe space every weekday from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm, After-School programming is a combination of engaging activities, education and training. Every year, hundreds of youth pass through Hetrick-Martin's doors for hot meals, classes, group activities and performances -- all designed to improve their chances for a healthier, richer future.
The Supportive Services Department stands as the critical third component of Hetrick-Martin's comprehensive youth services. This department provides outreach efforts to ensure that as many young people as possible know about The Hetrick-Martin Institute, as well as group, family and individual counseling for the highest at-risk youth -- many of whom have been forced from home due to conflicts with family members, peers and other adults over their sexual orientation. The Supportive Services Department works diligently to help youth come to terms with their sexuality, find emotional stability and resilience to maximize their potential. Hetrick-Martin provides social and family support, as well as legal and medical services referrals.
By its efforts to support and nurture LGBTQ youth, as well as its work to train educators, child welfare professionals, government officials and medical providers, The Hetrick-Martin Institute is committed to making the world a safer, more encouraging place for all youth and remains devoted to finding a way for all youth to fulfill their greatest potential.
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