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Maplewood Partners With Hetrick-Martin Institute to Offer Free Programming for LGBTQ Youth

Maplewood Township, via the Recreational and Community Services Department, is teaming up with the Hetrick-Martin Institute to offer programming related to LGBTQ Youth. Topics will include allied safe space, fun, empowerment, and counseling. The programs are open to youth and their families in the area — all are welcome and not limited to Maplewood residents. Please see attached flyer (above) regarding programming this week on July 22nd and again next month on August 29th.  The interest in and success of these pilots will determine the extent of any permanent partnership with HMI Newark in Maplewood beginning in the Fall.

According to Maplewood Township Committee member Dean Dafis, “Even in our progressive and welcoming community and climate of safe schools, the need for youth space, empowerment, and in many instances, counseling outside of the traditional academic setting or home are critical to ensuring the development of healthy youth adults.  Discussing  academic success and personal empowerment is critical. Also, it is imperative to cover silent mental health issue as teen suicide attempts are at an all time high across the country right now.  Some of our local teens are not immune from struggling with coming out to their families and friends – and, combating negative, divisive, and hateful speech and actions all around us, all the time.  Our trans and non binary youth and youth of color are particularly at risk.”

HMI New Jersey is the first comprehensive LGBTQ youth out-of-school time program in New Jersey dedicated to providing youth who are at-risk of harassment, abuse, neglect, homelessness and disconnection with a safe, supportive environment in which to grow and thrive. They serve youth from Essex, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties and are the only LGBTQ organization contracted with the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency Department. They’re celebrating their 40th year in business.


  • Arts and Culture
  • Health and Wellness
  • Academic Enrichment
  • Job Readiness


  • Counseling and Case Management
  • Onsite Pantry
  • Café HMI
  • Outreach Homeless Services
  • Referrals to External Services

Special Events

  • LGBTQ Youth Summits
  • Newark Pride March
  • Parents’ Pride
  • Career Fairs
  • HMI Alumni Reunion
  • NY Giants #YouCanPlay Event

Any questions or concerns can be directed to Dean Dafis at [email protected].

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