Share-a-Haircut Results!

Thank you to all our supporters who came out in early February to Share-a-Haircut at Hair Cuttery! On February 6th and 7th, thousands of clients visited their salons to help donate haircuts in our communities. As a result, Hair Cuttery will be donating 76,942 free haircut certificates to the homeless and those in need!

Hearts & Homes for Youth has received a number of haircut certificates for the youth in our care to get a fresh look for Spring!

Thank you to Hair Cuttery for partnering with Hearts & Homes for Youth and thank you to all our supporters! #sharingiscaring

Books You Should Read for Black History Month

As we recognize Black History Month and celebrate countless achievements by black Americans, our team at Hearts & Homes for Youth would like to share our top picks for books to read during Black History Month.

The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson

A beautifully written historical account of the decades-long migration of black citizens from the South to the North and West. This masterpiece is rich with data, official records, and narratives of individual experiences.

The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream, by Sampson Davis

This memoir follows three teenagers from a rough part of Newark, New Jersey, who made a pact to attend medical school together. Also check out: The Bond: Three Young Men Learn to Forgive and Reconnect with Their Fathers, by Sampson Davis.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

A classic Southern love story centered around a strong black female protagonist. Also check out Native Son by Richard Wright

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander

Legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that racial caste in America has not ended, and that Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control.

S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C., by Ruben Castaneda

A memoir of a crack addict and portrait of Washington D.C. during the height of the crack epidemic.

The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore

A book that documents the lives of two young men with the same name, born in the same area, but launched into different directions as a result of choices and opportunities.

From the Hood to the Hill: A Story of Overcoming, by Barry C. Black

From the Hood to the Hill is Chaplain Black’s story of overcoming unpromising beginnings in the ghettos of Baltimore.

Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin

Black against Empire is a comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party.

Untold Glory: African Americans in Pursuit of Freedom, Opportunity, and Achievement, by Alan Govenar

Untold Glory offers a fresh perspective on one of the most fundamental elements of American history—the conquest of new frontiers. In twenty-seven fascinating first-person accounts, African Americans from different eras, backgrounds, and occupations explore and reflect on the meaning of frontier, both literally and metaphorically.

Africana, by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates

Inspired by the dream of the late African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois and assisted by an eminent advisory board, Harvard scholars Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Kwame Anthony Appiah have created the first scholarly encyclopedia to take as its scope the entire history of Africa and the African Diaspora.

Classics:
The Mis-education of the Negro, by Carter G. Woodson

This book by the founder of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson, is an exploration of what it means to be black in America.

Up from Slavery, by Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington describes events in a remarkable life that began in bondage and culminated in worldwide recognition for his many accomplishments. In simply written yet stirring passages, he tells of his impoverished childhood and youth, the unrelenting struggle for an education, early teaching assignments, his selection in 1881 to head Tuskegee Institute, and more.

The Souls of Black Folks, by W.E.B. DuBois

This landmark book is a founding work in the literature of black protest. W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963) played a key role in developing the strategy and program that dominated early 20th-century black protest in America. In this collection of essays, first published together in 1903, he eloquently affirms that it is beneath the dignity of a human being to beg for those rights that belong inherently to all mankind.

Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X

This autobiography traces Malcolm X’s journey from being born as Malcolm Little to becoming one of the black freedom movement’s most recognizable figures. He describes his life experiences, from encountering racism, to being imprisoned, to being reborn through the Nation of Islam.

Black Boy, by Richard Wright

This autobiography traces Wright’s tortured years in the Jim Crow South from 1912 to 1927.

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

The main character wants blue eyes, convinced that it is her ticket to escape from life as a bullied black girl.

A Way to Help Homeless LGBT Youth

By Maureen Rodgers

As homelessness continues to top the list of one of the nation’s biggest and most expensive  problems, many  seem  to  forget that for as many homeless adults that are on the streets, there are the faces of youth also looking for a place to call home. The thought of a homeless youth seems to confuse some people; “If they’re homeless, at least they are with their family,” or “There must be someplace they can go, some family member will take them in. Who would sit by and let a kid live on the streets? ”

The harsh reality is that many youth that are homeless are not choosing a life on the streets, but have been forced to leave their homes due to their families’ not being accepting of their lifestyle. One group that this rings true for is lgbt youth.

According to a study that appeared in Families in Society, one out of every five homeless youth (20 percent) is lgbt-identified. LGBT youth also suffer victimization on the streets at a rate much higher than non-lgbt-identified groups.

When youth up to age 21 can no longer remain in their homes due to their birth families’ being unable or unwilling to care for them, they are sometimes (depending on the circumstances) able to receive help from the state, by entering into the custody of the Department of Social Services (DSS) or Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), through placement in group homes, independent living programs and foster care. Youth who do not receive services from these agencies are often left to fend for themselves and vie for the few resources available to homeless youth.

One such program, the Transitional Living Program, a four bed semi-independent living apartment operated by Hearts & Homes for Youth and located in Prince George’s County, Maryland services homeless youth ages 16-21 from any jurisdiction in Maryland. The program is self-admitting, meaning that any homeless youth that do not have other resources in no way match the need; programs such as this one are in dire need of financial partners so services can be expanded.

“LGBT youth in care are searching for the trusting relationship with a caregiver that will allow them to fully express who  they are without the fear of rejection or ridicule.”

Homeless youth who do receive help from the state often face another difficult plight. Many of those adolescents identify as lgbt and just like any other youth in care, are looking for a safe and loving environment. But even more, lgbt youth in care are also searching for the trusting relationship with a caregiver that will allow them to fully express who they are without the fear of rejection or ridicule. This type of relationship is something that many youth in care did not receive from their birth families and the reason why some of the youth end up in care.

Determining an appropriate placement for a youth in care who identifies as lgbt is not always an easy task, nor one that is often done with the individual needs of the youth in the forefront. To be blunt, the amount of placements  that  are  available  to  youth  in care  are  sometimes  scarce,  so  attempting to secure a placement that meets all of the youth’s needs can be difficult.

Placement in a group home or independent living program can be difficult due to the fact that the youth will be placed in an environment with other youth from a variety of different backgrounds, and may not be accepting of the youth’s sexual orientation. If a youth is transgender, placement is even more difficult because a youth is placed according to their assigned gender and not the gender they identify with.

Another option for placement is foster care, which can sometimes work better for lgbt youth because there is a little bit more variety and flexibility in the types of homes and foster parents available. But the search for good foster parents is not always an easy one, especially in today’s economy.

My search for foster parents takes me many places: I advertise in local newspapers, visit neighborhood fairs and festivals, attend community meetings and post fliers. But my greatest source of referrals is people that are willing to take a greater interest in our nation’s greatest resource–our youth–and talk about the issue to everyone they know.

The kind older neighbors next door, the gay couple that you attend church with, or the single mother in your aerobics class are our foster parents; so is the quiet gentleman you ride the bus with, the retired nurse that you see from time to time when you visit your parents, and the mechanic to whom you bring your car. Our foster parents come from all walks of life and different experiences, but they all share one thing in common, they answered a call to service and changed the lives of one or more young people forever.

What I look for in foster parents are people who can handle the challenges of what can sometimes be a difficult situation, and grow from those challenges. To me, the difficult situation of a child in foster care and an lgbt adult are connected. Both groups are often stigmatized and misunderstood, and the opportunity to bring both groups together by a gay couple or single gay person becoming a foster parent to a child in need is an opportunity for both sides to provide the other party with something they may have been missing. For the foster parent, a child that they may have been wanting and have possibly been told time and time again was unattainable.

And for the foster child, there would be love and support in a safe environment where they can finally be themselves.

Maureen  Rodgers, MA is  the Assistant Program Manager  of the Damamli Young Mother and Family Ties Therapeutic Foster Care programs at Hearts and Homes for Youth.

This article was originally published in Baltimore OUTloud.

Get your copy of the Youth Newsletter!

Hearts & Homes for Youth has published the 4th edition of the Youth Newsletter, with content produced by the children and teens in our care!

Get your annual subscriptions for $10. Proceeds will go directly to the youth in our care, to help them afford tutors, vocational coaches, day care, and GED instructors!

Sign up here to receive Hearts & Homes for Youth’s
bi-monthly Youth Newsletter produced by and about the youth in our care!

The newsletter is an opportunity for youth in our care to share poems, stories, art, experiences, and their feelings about life. The goal of the newsletter is to give the youth a voice, a safe place to express themselves, and another opportunity to build their confidence and sense of worth.

The newsletter also serves as a valuable resource for youth, parents, and all readers who understand the importance of seeing the world through a young person’s eyes. The stories, poems, art, and other reflections in the newsletter will cover topics ranging from mental health, drug use, relationships, college, violence, education, community service, and workforce development.

Volunteer teaches self-defense to youth

Last night, the girls at Helen Smith Group Home were treated to a self-defense workshop provided by one of our volunteers. The girls and the staff participated. Travis taught them some basic self defense techniques and the girls had a lot of questions!

The workshop started off with some simple ways to avoid confrontation; be the peacemaker, make eye contact, be aware of your surroundings. Then they practiced specific ways to defend oneself in a variety of situations. They learned the basics of how to quickly disable an attacker and escape.

The workshop was invaluable for building the girls’ confidence in themselves and their surroundings, especially by teaching them to be more aware of their surroundings.

We are looking forward to Travis coming back to provide self-defense workshops in the coming months for our young mothers, foster youth, and at a boys’ group home!

BB&T’s “Coming Together” – A Casino Night! – February 25, 2017

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to roll the dice at TPC Potomac for BB&T’s “Coming Together” – A Casino Night! Join us for a night of entertainment, dancing, and networking as we celebrate Black History month and raise money for Hearts & Homes for Youth’s foster care program!

Click here to see more & to register! »

Our Sponsors

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Judith Bernardi

Share-A-Haircut – Feb. 6th and 7th!

We are excited to announce that Hair Cuttery is conducting its annual Share-A-Haircut program to provide haircuts to youth in the care of Hearts & Homes for Youth! A fresh haircut can help our children and teens shine from within and feel more confident with a new style!

For every haircut purchased on Monday, February 6th and Tuesday, February 7th Hair Cuttery will donate a free haircut certificate to Hearts and Homes for Youth!

When you share a haircut, the youth in our care appreciate your generosity and compassion. A small thing like a haircut means a lot to the young people in our care!

MLK Service Day at Silver Spring Civic Center

Thank you so much to the Montgomery County (MD) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for hosting Montgomery County’s MLK Day of Service! Thank you Nena Abdul-Wakeel, Bowie State University Graduate Student Administation, Paint Branch High School Eclectic Step Team, and MCACDST for adopting Hearts & Homes for Youth for your service projects today at the Silver Spring Civic Center!

On MLK Day, Hearts & Homes joined countless volunteers at the Silver Spring Civic Center for a Service Day hosted by the Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (MCACDST). MCACDST members led volunteers in creating beautiful bracelets for the youth in our care. The Paint Branch High School Eclectic Step Team led volunteers in creating positive word mirrors, which is a great way to boost self-esteem and support positive thinking! Bowie State University Graduate Student Administration led a room full of volunteers in making birthday cards for the youth in our foster care program, an incredible way to show them the support they have in the community!

Thank you to all the event organizers and volunteers!

“Everyone who is here cares about someone else, cares about giving, cares about serving.” – Nena Abdul-Wakeel

A Volunteer’s Impact at Kemp Mill Group Home

Recently a young professional in the community came to our Kemp Mill Group Home where he plans to come every weekend to mentor the young men there. Some of the young men spoke with us about the impact the volunteer is having on their attitudes and goals. The young men said:

“I appreciate him coming to the home, I like him. He talks to us about a lot of stuff like his work and his experiences. He talked to us about stuff we don’t even know about like how to build a career in his field and the different departments. He talked to us about how to act when you want to get a job and how to work on our anger. He talked to us about how we act toward certain things. He talked to us about how to be independent. He’s got faith in us. He made us feel like we could do anything. He gave us confidence. He said he sees a lot of potential in me. He’s funny and his stories are interesting.”

“In a group there’s always one leader who makes people feel great, good, safe, cared for. He’s like a leader. Everybody listens to him. He’s got my respect. He puts effort in. I can tell when people care and I can tell he cares. He answers all our questions. He doesn’t get mad. I feel like he understands me, even though he’s not in my shoes, I feel like he understands me.”

“He influenced us to do better. Like the way he talked to us, it doesn’t seem like we should be in this predicament. He knows we could be doing better and we shouldn’t be doing the stuff we’re doing now. I look up to him like my big brother that passed away. I like when he comes, he makes you feel at home.”

Volunteers, mentors, and tutors can have an immeasurable impact on the youth in our care. If you are interested in mentoring or tutoring, contact Caitlin Ward at cward@heartsandhomes.org