What We Do

For thirty years, The Hetrick-Martin Institute has put into action our core belief that all young people— regardless of sexual orientation or identity—deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to thrive. Through a comprehensive package of innovative and creative after-school programs, supportive services, and referrals, Hetrick-Martin, with its experienced professional staff, is a leader in caring for our most vulnerable at-risk youth.

We are also host to the Harvey Milk High School, an inclusive, voluntary New York City transfer public high school focusing on the educational needs of children who are in crisis or at risk of physical violence and/or emotional harm in a traditional educational environment.

Who We Are

We’re a dedicated group of leaders, teachers, counselors, education and arts specialists, volunteers, mentors, and other folks committed to supporting LGBTQ youth through classes, internships, after-school programs, and most importantly, love and caring. We’re the ones truly happy to see you walk through the door. Here’s a little bit more about a few of us.

“I work at an agency that serves over 1000 heroes and heroines each year. The bravery I see in each of their faces against incredibly daunting challenges is nothing short of inspiring.”

Thomas, Executive Director

“Our job is to empower each individual.”

Matt, Dir. Supportive Services

“I needed to be around people that ‘got me,’ that spoke my language and had my feelings.”

Tenaja, Alumna and Board Member

“I wanted to give some of my advantages back.”

Joan, Mentor

Our building

Where We Work

Open the doors. Come inside. What will you see? A lively, caring environment where LGBTQ youth can find a safe place to make friends, eat a meal, and learn. Many young people find us through friends and referrals because they are looking for a safe place where they won’t be judged. Maybe they start by dropping in to the after-school program, socializing, or maybe they start an internship, receive an HIV test, or learn about HIV prevention. After discovering the many services and programs, many also apply to be students at Harvey Milk High School. Nearly 90% of Harvey Milk High School seniors graduated in 2008. For many, a diploma or GED certificate launches the rest of their lives. And it can all be found inside these simple doors.

How We Began

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. They were so moved that they gathered a group of concerned adults and created what was then called the Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth (IPLGY) to assist this group of young people who desperately needed support. In 1988, the organization was renamed The Hetrick-Martin Institute in honor of its founders and their lifelong commitment to service.

We're proud to be the oldest and largest organization in the nation helping gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth to reach their full potential.