Messages from the President & CEO
Among the many ongoing examples of Hillside’s commitment to DE&I, the recently completed pilot of our leadership diversity program stands out this month. The program was launched in July, with a primary goal of strengthening the diversity of leaders throughout our agency—creating new opportunities for advancement among interested employees of color, and further enhancing our ability to serve the community through a DE&I lens.
Of the six employees who participated in the pilot, one has already accepted a promotion within Hillside—and leaders will continue to engage with her fellow participants to make sure they have the opportunities they deserve for their own future advancement. In the meantime, our Executive DE&I Council and our Organizational Development team are unpacking the learnings from the pilot program to share the benefits more broadly.
The leadership diversity program is expected to return in 2023, and more exciting and thought-provoking DE&I work is ongoing at Hillside. For now, please accept our best wishes for a joyous holiday season—no matter how you celebrate!
Throughout his four-year high school career, Ethan DeMartinis worked as a volunteer in Hillside’s Youth Court program—and his commitment to the program’s mission has only continued now that he’s moved on to college.
Based in Livingston County, the Youth Court program uses peer influence to help youthful non-violent offenders find accountability for their offenses and learn about the effects of their actions on themselves, victims, and the community.
After graduating as valedictorian of the Livonia Central School class of 2021, DeMartinis went on to Dartmouth University to study English, creative writing and public policy. But he’s maintained a mentor role to Youth Court participants, connecting remotely with Zoom technology that was adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Youth Court has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking,” DeMartinis says, “and it’s motivated me to be a part of the justice system moving forward.”
His passion for advocacy takes other forms, as well. As a member of the New York State Youth Justice Institute Peer Advisory Council, he contributes to the work of supporting localities statewide to adopt evidence-informed youth justice practices. He’s also an Associate Editor for the Dartmouth Law Journal and The Stonefence Review, a literature magazine; and he writes novels, works with a local church and hikes in his free time.
Casey Pagano, Case Manager for the Youth Court program, calls DeMartinis “a wonderful role model for younger members. We cannot thank Ethan enough for his dedication and commitment to the program. And we congratulate him on his achievements!”
Your support helps Hillside programs change the lives of even more youth and families in need. Donate to Hillside today.
The Hillside Men of Color (HMOC) affinity group met last month with a special guest in attendance: Pastor Reginald L. Cox (pictured), founder and Executive Director of The Fatherhood Connection. His organization is designed to educate, equip and empower communities, and our HMOC group is looking forward to partnering with Pastor Cox as part of Hillside’s ongoing commitment to community outreach.
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Bringing a DE&I culture to a complex organization like Hillside requires attention in all areas. For instance, we’re in the process of updating Hillside’s agency-wide policies that guide many aspects of our work, and our teams have been asked to also consider those policies from a lens of equity. Subtle changes like this can make a big gradual difference in how we engage with the diverse communities we serve.
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November is National Native American Heritage Month, an opportunity for us all to reflect on our nation’s history and honor those indigenous to this land and who called it home long before the first European settlers arrived.