This October finds the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition focusing on the next generation of Black and Latin@ LGBTQ individuals.
In addition to hosting its third annual LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Conference on October 12, the organization will also be preparing to kick off the third wave of its LGBTQ Mentorship Program next month.
The Mentorship Program pairs LGBTQ professionals of color with LGBTQ students of color to support youth and young adults in developing a positive LGBTQ identity while successfully adapting to college or professional life.
The program launched in 2010, when HBGC partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Rainbow Lounge, a campus meeting space and support network for LGBT activities, programs and services, to pair mentors with LGBTQ-identified MIT students. Since then, the program has grown to include teens and young adults ages 16 - 21 enrolled at a number of different local schools and colleges, as well as youth engaged in the workforce.
This year, HBGC welcomes a new Mentorship Program Coordinator, Emerson College alumni Dee Anthony. Prior to this year, Lizwe Nondabula, Americorps Financial Grant Coordinator for Youthbuild USA, managed the program.
Though sad to be parting ways with the mentorship program, Nondabula is confident it is in good hands and excited to see how it evolves in the future. "Every year, the excitement and appreciation levels from our cohort increases. Our community realizes the importance of this mentorship program and how beneficial it is for everyone involved, Nondabula said.
This was clear at the first-ever mentorship program "friendraiser" held last fall, where guests included State Representatives Byron Rushing and Jeffrey Sanchez, and Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick and her daughter, Katherine. Hosted by Kevin Hepner, President and CEO of United South End Settlements (USES), the friendraiser was an intimate mixer where supporters heard stories from mentors and mentees about the impact of the program on their lives and learned ways to contribute to the sustainability of the program.
Anthony is confident that with the support of the programs friends and strong mentor/mentee pairings, the program will continue to help LGBTQ youth of color set and achieve their goals using the knowledge, resources and encouragement of LGBTQ adults in their community.
"Mentees have a role model, coach, and advocate in their lives that they can tap into for ongoing support. They have a trusted friend that they can access at any time for advice and encouragement," Anthony pointed out.
And though mentoring relationships have clear benefits for those being mentored, Anthony believes the program offers values to mentors as well.
"LGBTQ adult professionals experience both personal growth and fulfillment by mentoring an LGBTQ youth," Anthony said. "There's an internal satisfaction that mentors get from sharing their experiences, while being exposed to new ideas/experiences from the mentees."
\Youth and adults interested in applying to participate in the Mentorship program can visit www.HBGC-Boston.org and click "Programs" to read the program requirements and download an application.
\For more information about the mentorship program, contact Mentorship Program Coordinator Dee Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.487.4242.