The Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute is an innovative collaboration with the NYS Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force in conjunction with the annual SOMOS, Inc. conference, Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages, the New York State City Board of Education, and other agencies as appropriate.
The overall purpose of the PR/HYLI is student empowerment. To this end the Institute has the following goals for its student delegates:
- The development of leadership skills in Hispanic Youth;
- The creation of opportunities for Hispanic students to interact with positive role models such as Puerto Rican/Hispanic elected officials, educators, and business leaders;
- The creation of partnerships and conversations among educators, business leaders and students, and
- The development of an in-depth knowledge of the state legislative process.
The Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute consists of 3 main phases:
- Training in regional delegations: selected student delegates focus on identification and research of local issues, study of the NYS legislative process, parliamentary procedure and selected bills.
- Participation in the 3-day Institute: Approximately 200 students from 8 delegations statewide take part in key activities which include team-building exercises to develop inter-regional relationships, a Mock Assembly session which is conducted in the NYS Assembly chamber, a student recognition dinner where winners of the PR/HYLI scholarships and other awards are announced and career development workshops.
- Extension and refinement of leadership skills: back in their local communities, student delegates continue to develop leadership skills and put their skills “to practice”.
Established in 1987, the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force annual Legislative Conference (also known as the SOMOS, Inc. conference) is the largest gathering of Puerto Rican/Hispanic civic and political leaders in the state. With more than 3 million Hispanics in New York, the conference has become the most significant public policy vehicle that allow for important policy and legislative issues to be discussed and addressed at the state level. The Task Force members are state legislators who have Assembly districts in which 20 percent of their constituents are Hispanic.
The SOMOS, Inc. Legislative Conference brings together nearly 7,000 New Yorkers who represent a cross section of the state’s Hispanic community, including federal, state, and local elected officials as well as community, labor and business leaders. With its mission to provide a forum for the development of legislative and budgetary initiatives of concern to Hispanic communities throughout the state, the conference also serves as a stage to acknowledge the significant contribution of Hispanics living in New York State. This is achieved through workshops, seminars and policy institutes.
The outcome, of these meetings and networking opportunities, is a legislative agenda focused on meeting the needs of Hispanic communities across the Empire State.