MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The township is launching a partnership with the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) New Jersey to provide free services and programs to LGBTQ students who are at risk of being bullied, harrassed or neglected.

HMI offers services and programs outside of a school setting and is the only LGBTQ organization contracted with the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency Department. HMI is celebrating its 40th year in business.

"We're lucky to have them partner with us in Maplewood and we're really proud to help them expand their reach into our community and the surrounding area," said Maplewood Township Committeeman Dean Dafis.

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Programming takes place on Monday, July 22 and Monday, Aug. 29, at the De Hart Community Center, 120 Burnett Ave. If the partnership is successful, the township anticipates that it will create a permanent partnership with the organization, according to Dafis.

HMI offers programs in arts and culture, health and wellness, academic enrichment and job readiness. Services provided are in counseling and case management. The programs also offers an onsite pantry, cafe HMI, outreach homeless services, and referrals to external services.

Participating students could attend special events including LGBTQ summits for youth, the Pride March in Newark, Parents' Pride, career fairs, the HMI Alumni Reunion, and a New York Giants #YouCanPlay event.

Visit www.hmi.org/newjersey for more information.