The Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute

The Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute is celebrating more than 30 years in collaboration with the NYS Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, in conjunction with the annual SOMOS, Inc. Conference. The program is a partnership with the New York State Education Department, the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages, the NYC Public Schools, the RBERNs statewide, Institutions of Higher Education, and other agencies as appropriate.


The overall purpose of the PR/HYLI is student empowerment and leadership development. 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. 
  • The development of an in-depth knowledge of the state legislative process. 

Students with heritage ties to any of the formally recognized Spanish-speaking countries, sovereign states, and/or territories are invited to apply to become part of the Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican / Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute. Students are not required to speak Spanish to participate.

A list of Spanish-speaking countries, sovereign states, and territories can be found below:

  • Puerto Rico
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Spain
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Program of Study

Over the course of approximately six months, Hispanic students from across New York State, in seven regional delegations study topics focused on leadership development, civic engagement and democracy.  These sessions help our students to understand NYS government, the legislative process, parliamentary procedure, public speaking, debating selected Assembly Bills.

Course Modules are aligned to the New York State Next Generation English Language Arts Standards and New York State Social Studies Framework. Throughout the sessions, there is an emphasis on leadership development and critical thinking. Many students may qualify to receive a NYS Seal of Civic Readiness as well as the NYS Seal of Biliteracy on their high school diploma as a result of participation and work done in this program. Some students also receive college credits for a public speaking course in partnership with local colleges.

Phases of The Angelo Del Toro  Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute consists of the following:

  1. Regional Delegations Study of Topics – Selected student delegates focus on identification and research of local issues, study of the NYS legislative process, parliamentary procedure, and selected bills.
  2. Participation in the Three-Day Institute – Approximately 275 students statewide take part in Institute that includes key activities such as team-building activities 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, keynote speakers, and career development workshops. 
  3. Extension and Refinement of Leadership Skills – Student delegates continue to develop leadership skills and put their skills into practice in their home and school communities. Students designated as Outstanding Student Delegates may be offered additional opportunities throughout the school year.
  4. Outstanding Student Delegate Educational Field Trips – Outstanding Student Delegates from regional delegations may have the opportunity to visit Washington, DC and/or Puerto Rico.  Students will visit elected officials and share issues that directly affect their communities. 


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.

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, the New York State Education Department, Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages and other agencies as appropriate.

Dr. Gladys I. Cruz
10 Empire State Blvd. • Castleton, NY 12033
Tel: (518) 479-6993 • Fax: (518) 477-1335

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