A Partnership between Rutgers University, Newark Public Schools and Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey
Rutgers University recently hosted the The Newark LGBTQA Youth Summit. More than 250 NPS high school students participated in the summit, which envisions a community in which Newark LGBTQA youth feel connected to their peers, supported by adults, and excited about their future. This summit enabled LGBTQA youth and their allies to create a cohesive, positive peer community by providing opportunities for relationship development and socialization. Workshops engaged students in meaningful discussions about identity development, healthy coping strategies, self-care and constructive methods for responding to anti-LGBTQA violence. This curriculum is designed to reduce risk behavior, inter/intra-community violence, and improve overall mental and physical health of youth participants. Staff chaperones joined LGBTQA youth at the event, aligning students with affirming adults during the academic year and enhancing NPS staff understanding of LGBTQA needs and their capacity to adequately address those needs through targeted professional development that runs concurrent with student workshops. The program is designed to increase retention, performance and graduation of LGBTQA youth in Newark Public Schools.
During the event, a Resource Fair connected LGBTQA youth with youth-service agencies across the city of Newark. These agencies strengthen existing support of these students and foster partnerships between these agencies and staff chaperones, with the intention of encouraging strategic partnerships and programs to guarantee the most efficient use of resources in serving LGBTQA youth across the school district.