Juntos Construyendo’s Healthy Identities Leadership Institute

Healthy Identities Leadership Institute

Program Overview

In the last five years, a positive movement towards achieving equal rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community has taken place at a local, regional, and national level. From the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the passing of marriage equality in several states, including New York is what the community may call progress! However, many of the realities of young gay and bisexual men remain the same. Homophobia, HIV, stigma, lack of support, depression, and substance abuse are some of these unchanged realities.

The Healthy Identities Leadership Institute is a Juntos Construyendo community mobilization initiative that aims to foster healthy identities through the empowerment of Latino Gay men throughout New York State. The 4 month program was developed to reflect the realities that potentially serve as barriers for the Latino Gay community throughout the different regions of New York State (NYS); and as such to have program participants address these barriers through the mediums of film and photography (who are community members themselves).

There are two components to the leadership institute: a skills building component and the project initiative component. The skills building component consists of face-to-face trainings, webinars, and
online tutorials which are intended to raise awareness and increase knowledge among participants on issues such as Homophobia, Stigma, the coming out process, Identity (Latino, Gay etc.), and Health. In
addition, participants will critically analyze how these factors play a role in the development of a Healthy Identity among Latino Gay men. During the program’s initiative component, participants will create a project addressing a barrier facing the Latino gay men in their respective region through film or photography.

The program is open to self-identified Latino Gay or bisexual men residing anywhere in New York State. Each participant will be paired with a Juntos Construyendo network member, who will serve as the participant’s mentor throughout the program. The mentorship pairing will be done according to region and shared experiences of the mentors and participants. (For mentor responsibilities please see the mentor responsibilities description below)

Target Population:

Healthy Identities Leadership Institute is targeting NYS Latino Gay Men through media to foster healthy identities and empowerment within the Latino Gay Community through photography and film.

Eligibility criteria:

Those with a commitment to the Latino Gay community are encouraged to apply for the Healthy
Identities program. The program is open to anyone who:

  • Self-identifies as a Latino Gay or Bisexual cis-man.
  • Is between 18 and 29 years of age.
  • Resides anywhere in New York State.
  • Desires to be part of the Leadership Institute and displays a commitment to the Latino Gay community.
  • Has access to a computer and internet to fulfill the online skills building components.
  • Applicants must also have the ability to:
  • Effectively communicate both written and verbally.
  • Self-motivate and feel comfortable working independently as well as in groups.

Program Participant:

Those chosen to participate in the program can expect to attend three face-to-face meetings, along with a series of online webinars and how-to tutorials. Participants will also undertake a community mobilization
project to address and bring about change on a particular issue which represents a barrier in achieving a healthy Latino Gay Identity. This project will be created using either traditional or new media, including
film, photography, social marketing campaigns, etc. Participants will be given complete autonomy in choosing the type of media and message they wish to convey for their community mobilization project.

Participant Requirements:

  • Committed to attending 3 face-to-face meetings over the program cycle
  1. The Welcome meeting – May 4th in NYC
  2. Healthy Identities midpoint meeting
  3. The unveiling event for the Healthy Identities Project
  • Access to a computer to fulfill the webinar and tutorials aspect of the skills building component
  • IMPORTANT: For those applicants outside of New York City, the institute includes 3 face‐to‐face meetings thus requiring travel time for those who are outside of the NYC. We anticipate the first face to face for Saturday, May 4th, 2013 in New York City. Will you be able to travel if selected as a participant in the Healthy Identities Leadership Institute?Upon completing the Healthy Identities program, participants will:
  • Have an increased knowledge of the realities faced by Latino Gay Men.
  • Maintain a leadership role within the community through the sustainability of their projects.
  • Be able to identify measurable results within the community.
  • Use the content of their community mobilization project to empower members.

Program Mentors:

Mentors for the Healthy Identities program will be chosen from existing members of the Juntos Construyendo network. Mentors will be paired with applicants according to region, shared experience and program goals. In serving as a mentor, individuals will be expected to support Healthy Identities participants by serving as a resource of expertise.

Mentor Requirements:

Mentor’s main role is to be a source of expertise around the realities of Latino Gay Men for program participants. Mentors do not need to be Latino themselves, but have experience in working with the Latino Gay Male population.

This role may include:

  • Serving as a source of information that will provide the participant with context for their social marketing initiative
  • The participant shadowing the mentor through at least 1 workday to gain a better understanding of the realities that Latino Gay Men in the area face on a daily basis
  • A meeting where the mentor and participant exchange experiences about the realities of Latino Gay Men that would be beneficial in the creation of their media projects
  • Collaboration on the project initiative component of the Healthy Identities program is not required, but is also a possibility.

In participating as a mentor, full scholarship for Reunion Latina 2013 will be provided

Upon completion of the program, mentors will:

  • Enhance their leadership competencies.
  • Improve management skills.
  • Share in the design and implementation of short-term project goals.

Application Process:

A completed application.

Applicants will be required to submit a 250 – 500 word essay as to why they would like to participate in the Institute. The essay should include prior experience they have had with working with this population, be it personal or professional, and how that would serve as an asset in the participation of the program. Applicants should also include what, in their opinion, constitutes a healthy identity and what is essential in its formation. Please keep in mind that this is subjective and were are looking for different perspective based on one’s reality. Furthermore, and most importantly, we are looking for one’s ability to think critically and independently. The letter of recommendation should be between 250-500 words from someone who has worked alongside the applicant in a professional or academic setting. In the letter of recommendation we ask that it be specified why the applicant would be a good fit for the program, their professional and/or academic experience with the applicant, and what qualities would make the participant an asset to the program, as well as a leader in the community.

If you have any inquiries about the program and/or application process please feel free to contact:

Héctor L. Torres III
212-675-3288 ext. 348





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