Guido Sanchez Director, HPC
“LGBT youth who casually come in access our services ...described how they simply wanted to be treated as human beings, and that if not for our program they would be lost and on the street.”
“Point K tools helped push us to establish protocols for the implementation and refinement of our services.”
“The tension of the nonprofit sector is in reconciling ‘best practices’ and the reality of limited resources and funding.”
HudsonPride Connections (formerly JerseyCity Connections) was founded in 1994 by local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists to address the unmet needs of the LGBT community in Hudson County, New Jersey.
The organization expanded on its LGBT social services and HIV+ buddy program to include its transgender program (in 2001) and its youth program (in 2002). In 2006, the agency began to expand outward with regional services and partnerships throughout the area.
InnoNet: Can you begin by telling me a little bit about your organization?
Guido Sanchez: HudsonPride Connections (HPC) exists to fill the gap within social services that is not sensitive to the needs of the LGBT community. The mission has expanded to include services for HIV positive people regardless of orientation over the years. Through our programming, we provide professional development to enhance services throughout Hudson County, and we also provide supportive services to transgendered individuals, LGBT youth, HIV positive gay men, and all HIV positive people. We have two full time staff members and 12 part time staff members with an operating budget of $265,000.
InnoNet: How and why did you become involved in your service area?
Guido Sanchez: Being LGBT identified myself, I began to work in public health as a trainer and health educator through New York City. Public health fit perfectly with my academic training in sociology, and my passion was always supporting communities and empowering communities that were underserved and in need. Health awareness and support is something that needs to be universal, and these communities face overt and institutionalized homophobia and prejudice when dealing with the healthcare system. This need is my passion.
InnoNet: What is your favorite part of your job?
Guido Sanchez: My favorite part of my job is watching our clients change, and in turn beginning to work with their peers. We have clients who educate their peers based on their own life experiences and try to enhance their knowledge about harm reduction. I love to watch as we help people navigate a system and a society in which they commonly feel helpless. Whether it is because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV positive status, these people face so many obstacles that prevent them from getting the education they need to reduce their risk for HIV and enhance their health.
We have a social support program for LGBT youth who casually come in to access our services. My impression of the program changed the moment we interviewed them for a project and more than one of them described how they simply wanted to be treated as human beings, and that if not for our program they would be lost and on the street.
InnoNet: Which of the tools do you use? What have you gained from using them?
Guido Sanchez: I have at least begun a draft of the all of them, with the most extensive work in the Organizational Assessment Tool. The tools, along with a lot of concurrent organizational changes, forced us to begin to consider institutionalizing our mission, goals, evaluation, and risk assessments. Through the nearly 13 years of the organization, there have been many changes and ups and downs. Only in the last five years have we begun to develop a core set of programs and services and establish our identity in the region. With these changes, Point K tools helped push us to establish protocols for the implementation and refinement of our services.
InnoNet: In what ways do you think Point K has benefited HudsonPride?
Guido Sanchez: We are becoming aware of how when we implement certain policies and procedures, we need to make sure we have a guided process similar to that of the Point K tools. The most useful part is getting a sense of what risk reduction approaches we should be taking in regards to our policies, fiscal and overall. We are still in the process of implementing many of the changes, but as our organization expands rapidly, we are remaining conscious of the need to strengthen our strategic planning process and move our organization towards institutionalized program evaluation procedures.
The outlook of my organization has changed through viewing the Point K tools because I have learned that the tension of the nonprofit sector is in reconciling “best practices” and the reality of limited resources and funding. The knowledge of evaluation that I gained is perfect because it is not a strict “best practices” set of guidelines – it is a set of guidelines that I worked to create using the tools. These guidelines are based on the reality of our work, and that is more useful than anything.
InnoNet: Would you recommend our tools and resources to empower others in the non-profit community?
Guido Sanchez: Yes, I would make sure they realized that these are interactive and built by the organization, so they are not top-down guidelines that don’t apply, they are a realistic creation of the tool user.
InnoNet: Thank you for being a Point K Featured User.
Guido Sanchez: Thank you.
- » HudsonPride operates 6 programs in Hudson County, New Jersey, and is looking for volunteers to help with their programs.
- » For more information on HudsonPride / Jersey City Connections, please visit their website at www.hudsonpride.org
- » HudsonPride / Jersey City Connections is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization.
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