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What are the biggest challenges that you face in trying to achieve your organization's mission and your personal mission statement?

At HMI: NJ, we believe all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential. Sometimes it is hard to hear about youth going through a hard time, and heartbreak is also part of this work since bias and discrimination against LGBTQ people are common and come in many forms. We want to be the safe space that LGBTQ youth can count on, but at the end of the day, youth still leave HMI and go to homes that aren't accepting.

How are you working to overcome these challenges?

Self-care is an integral part of our work at HMI: NJ, and we try to model healthy coping skills and healthy boundaries for each other as staff as well as for youth members dealing with stress. The staff engage in professional development to continue refining their skills and furthering their education. We also host a Youth Advisory Board made up of youth members so they can have a voice on what HMI: NJ programming looks like so that as staff, we are not dictating what youth need without getting youth input.

Advice for teen girls who are struggling?

We are all a work in progress. When you are struggling, don't ever be too proud to reach out for help. There are so many loving and supportive individuals that are here for you. If you are questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity, know that you are not alone, and there's a community waiting for you with open arms, ready to accept you for exactly who you are.

What's the best advice that you've received from another leader or mentor?

Find your inspiration and go toward it. Your dreams are valid, and everyone deserves to do what makes them happy.

Who's your "Shero"? My grandmother.

Learn more about Alayne and her work by visiting www.hminj.org 113

Profile for Butterfly Dreamz

2020 Leadership Journal E-book  

A leadership journal written by girls from Newark, NJ to cultivate courageous conversations and action. Purchase your copy at theleadershipj...

2020 Leadership Journal E-book  

A leadership journal written by girls from Newark, NJ to cultivate courageous conversations and action. Purchase your copy at theleadershipj...