All posts by Hearts & Homes for Youth

Director of the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement speaks with young mothers

1Kisha Brown recently visited with our young mothers in the Damamli Independent Living Program at their weekly Independent Living/Life Skills group to talk about her role as the Director of the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement.

Kisha Brown spoke with the young mothers about employee rights, laws that protect employees and workplace etiquette. She then invited the young mothers to share their ideas on how she could reach more young people to let them know about the resources available in Baltimore City. Kisha Brown also discussed her previous role as a Baltimore City Child Support Attorney.

Hearts & Homes for Youth regularly welcomes professionals like Kisha Brown to speak with the young people in our care about the importance of post-secondary education and the variety of professional opportunities there are across the state. The discussions are a unique, positive learning experience and can spark a new interest if, for example, the youth are hearing about an unfamiliar occupation or career.  The discussion can also be empowering, such as when Kisha Brown as the young women to share their ideas. The career-focused discussions encourage youth to think forward and consider options for a stable future for themselves and their babies.

JWCCC gives Helen Smith girls self defense class

In March, the Junior Women’s Club of Chevy Chase (JWCCC) hosted a class in self-defense at their clubhouse for the girls at our Helen Smith Group Home. The instructor taught some self defense moves, and each of our girls partnered with a member of the JWCCC and practiced the moves they learned. Afterward, Hearts & Homes staff member Vicki Valle spoke with the girls about the danger of texting and walking, the importance of staying alert, and using common sense to avoid threatening situations or people.

The JWCCC focuses on supporting initiatives that enhance the quality of life of women and children. The self defense activity is part of the JWCCC’s GEMS project. The GEMS (Girls Empowered Motivated and Successful) Mentoring Project, is one of the JWCCC’s special projects. GEMS is offered to teen girls ages 14-19; in partnership with one of our signature charities Hearts and Homes for Youth. Hearts & Homes serves youth in crisis by providing them with a variety of residential and supportive programs; including therapeutic group homes, foster care and independent living for pregnant and parenting teen mothers. The goal of the GEMS project is the offer the girls emotional support and mentoring; by exposing them to project based learning, teaching them life skills for independent living (cooking lessons, job skills, etc.) and offering them an opportunity to participate in service activities and social events. Our participation and affection for the girls has meant a lot to them and to our club members; already leaving a lasting impression on the lives we have touched.

Second Annual Squisito’s Car Show

Mark your calendar for the Second Annual Squisito Car Show where we will see Italian, American, Japanese/Import, and European cars! There will be first, second, and third place trophies for each category voted for by spectators! It’s a family event so everyone is welcome! Lots of good folks, cars, fun, food, soft drinks, live DJ and music, awards, prizes and raffles! Fun for everyone!

2nd Annual Squisito Car Show
Burtonsville Crossing Shopping Center
November 5, 2016
10am – 3pm

Click here to register!

Wrapping up at Kemp Mill

For the past five months, our incredible volunteers from Coakley Williams Construction, Fort Meade, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and UPS in Burtonsville have helped us renovate our Kemp Mill Group Home in Silver Spring. The project began in the fall when Coakley Williams came and remodeled our kitchen, including new appliances and a fresh paint job. The difference is incredible! Weeks later, Coakley Williams came again and helped us collect branches, sticks, and leaves in the front and back yard and brought new shrubs and flowers to plant.

For the following few months, we spent countless weekends with our friends from Fort Meade, ripping up the old carpet, removing nails and staples from the floor, and then sanding, staining, and finishing the floor. This involved moving a lot of furniture!

Our volunteers from Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and UPS in Burtonsville teamed up with our volunteers from Fort Meade and helped us repaint the interior. Every space in the house has a fresh coat of paint and all together, the house looks completely transformed! It was a large undertaking and the results speak for themselves. Thank you so much to all of the volunteers who came together and made this possible!

We are also grateful to Bob’s Furniture for the beautiful new furniture they donated to us last summer and to one of our supporters for the stunning new curtains!

The Matworks Company gives big donation to Hearts & Homes for Youth

IMG_1466Hearts & Homes for Youth has received over 5200 sq ft of new carpet from The Matworks Company to help maintain a beautiful, safe, and homelike environment at our program facilities that benefit the youth in our care.

The donation was orchestrated by Huseyin Koca, Director of Sales and Marketing Support at The Matworks Company.

It will go to two program facilities, one of them being our Jumpstart Semi-Independent Group Home in bustling and artistic Hyattsville, Maryland. This group home offers support for up to eight young males between the ages of 17 and 20 years old from all parts of Maryland. Young men in this program typically spend up to 6 to 9 months in our home.  

IMG_1468This home provides a structured, rigorous, and goal-oriented program for young men ready to embark as independent, mature community members.  With professional staff providing 24-hour supervision and behavioral role modeling, this program provides the consistency and continuity that allows our young men to develop skills necessary to become productive, responsible, and engaged community members.

IMG_1467The Matworks Company was established in 1966, and their philosophy has remained consistent and simple: they work with national retailers to identify, install and manage the very best flooring solutions. Matworks is an innovative leader in the flooring industry, providing both product and service. Their Comprehensive Model has a proven track record working with national retailers in key areas such as improving the customer’s experience, improving employee satisfaction, improving workplace safety, and reducing operating costs.

National Social Work Month

To all of the Social Workers at Hearts & Homes for Youth (including our CEO and Program Directors), and Social Workers at other organizations, we want to wish you a wonderful National Social Work Month!

Celebrated each March, National Professional Social Work Month is an opportunity to recognize the wonderful work of our tenacious, talented, and all-around awesome social workers! Our Social Workers tirelessly confront challenges facing the youth in our care and their caregivers, helping them overcome adversity, realize their dreams, and make the community a better place.

Our Social Workers spend nights in the hospital with youth, coordinate outdoor activities, take them to appointments, help them process their feelings, make themselves available for the youth whenever they’re needed, support them with determination, and act as their biggest cheerleaders celebrating every accomplishment!

From your team at Hearts & Homes, THANK YOU for all of your contributions. Thank you for advocating for each and every youth and for the incredible difference you make in their lives!

JWCCC Unearthing GEMS at Helen Smith Group Home

1AA9897112The Junior Women’s Club of Chevy Chase (JWCCC) has had an incredible impact on the girls in our care at Helen Smith Group Home! In particular, Hearts & Homes for Youth would like to recognize one of the JWCCC members who has been tutoring one of youth for Algebra 2 and helped her raise her grade from a D to a B in a week!

The tutoring sessions are one of many ways the JWCCC has engaged with our girls at Helen Smith. Through their GEMS mentoring program, the JWCCC has been extraordinarily dedicated to the personal well-being and development of the girls at the Home. The JWCCC spends time with our girls once a month, each time hosting a different activity and teaching a different lesson. In February, the JWCCC taught the girls how to make jewelry. In previous visits, JWCCC has also baked with the girls and done other arts and crafts projects.

On March 16, the Junior Women’s Club of Chevy Chase will be hosting a self-defense class for our young ladies at Helen Smith Group Home for Girls. The goal is to teach the girls about self awareness and personal safety.

Hearts & Homes Helen Smith Group Home has been part of JWCCC’s GEMS program for a number of a number of years and the women continue to have a positive influence on the work that we do and the lives of the girls in our care.

Andrew’s great work ethic

photo-1417577792096-106a2c4e353dAndrew is 20 years old and has been living with his foster mother since 2008. In that time, Andrew has grown to be a responsible and mature young man. He has been attending Prince George’s Community College and is hoping to transfer to University of Maryland College Park to study Sports Medicine.
Andrew became interested in sports when his foster parent started him in boxing lessons several years ago. This has grown into a passion for him and he has even been able to box internationally! Andrew now balances two part time jobs, one at a gym teaching Boot Camp classes (5:30 am!!!!) and the other at a clothing store in Georgetown. In addition, he trains in the ring multiple time a week and attends classes twice a week. Andrew’s dedication and work ethic is very impressive!

Good News at Jumpstart!

RE54D4GOX0Today we are happy to announce that one of our young men at Jumpstart Semi-Independent Living Program successfully completed our program and has returned home to his family! The young man, Trevor, was struggling behaviorally but recently made a major turn around. Trevor has maintained employment since entering the program, completed all of his court-required community service hours, invested in himself and made major breakthroughs in therapy, completed portions of the GED, and his behaviors and interactions with staff and peers have improved dramatically. We are so proud of this young man and the positive life choices he has made, especially his choice to invest in his future!

Training Workshop: Common Child Mental Health Disorders Experienced by Youth in the Child Welfare System

familyOn Wednesday, February 24, Dr. Geetha Gopalan will lead a Category I CEU training authorized by MD BSWE on “Common Child Mental Health Disorders Experienced by Youth in the Child Welfare System.” 2 Category I CEUs will be awarded.
The cost is $25, to register, please RSVP to Valerie Snogren
Geetha Gopalan, LCSW, Ph.D. received both her MSW, in 2006, and her Ph.D. in 2009, from the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work in Baltimore. Through the doctoral program, Dr. Gopalan focused on mental health service program development, implementation, and dissemination for inner-city, minority youth, and their families. Since her graduation from Columbia in 2009, she has participated in two NIMH-funded intervention research training institutes, the NIH Loan Repayment Program, and a three-year, NIMH-funded National Research Science Award Individual Post-Doctoral Fellowship.
Dr. Gopalan’s interests focus on family-level interventions to improve youth mental health and reduce youth risk behavior, particularly for families with intensive service involvement and extreme psychosocial needs (such as those involved in the child welfare system). She is currently the Principal Investigator of an NIMH-funded study to implement a Multiple Family Groups (MFG) intervention originally provided by advanced mental health practitioners (Masters or PhDs) to reduce child disruptive behavior difficulties, so that it can be delivered by caseworkers providing placement prevention services to child welfare involved families.
Dr. Gopalan’s training today will focus on common child mental health disorders manifested by children and youth involved in the child welfare system. Information will be presented on characteristic symptoms, assessment tools, and an overview of relevant evidence-based treatments for each disorder.