All posts by Hearts & Homes for Youth

August 2022 Happenings

Foster Parents of the Month

We’re excited to announce the foster parents of the month of August – Jonelle and Denzel Wimbush. The Wimbush’s are compassionate, nurturing, knowledgeable, and kindhearted foster parents. They are always willing to help out other foster parents by providing respite, and they go above and beyond to ensure that the youth in their care are given ample opportunities to learn and thrive.  From trips to Disney Land, family gathers, one on one talks, the Wimbush’s are extremely committed to providing a sense of normalcy and a healthy family dynamic to all the children in their home.  Thank you, Jonelle and Denzel, for all that you do. Your dedication and hard work do not go unnoticed.

It’s Back to School Time!

We celebrated the end of August with a back-to-school picnic for our kids. They enjoyed basketball, jump rope, pizza, and received a backpack filled with school supplies. We’re grateful to DLH Corporation for supplying us with over 70 backpacks for the 20th year in a row! Our youth are happy to be well prepared to start their school year. Many thanks to DLH!

Woof, Woof!

Big thanks to Bark Social for hosting Hearts and Homes. Bark Social is a social club for dogs and dog lovers. We had a blast tabling, and raised funds for our foster kids, introduced ourselves to some people interested in fostering, and got to pet a lot of cute dogs. Check them out at

Summer Fun

Our Mary’s Mount girls enjoyed a day at a summer bash and got to ride horses! They also were able to attend a magic show and try their hand at some tricks.

Our Avis Birley home has partnered with Pets on Wheels. They come to the program bi-weekly with a friendly therapeutic animal. This provides our young men another therapeutic outlet and teaches them about caring for animals. They look forward to this visit and have truly loved the experience.

Don’t Miss Out on the FUN

Would you like to enjoy a fun evening and support children at the same time? Please join us for our Annual FUNraiser at Topgolf in Germantown on November 3.  Topgolf is a sports entertainment complex that features a high-tech golf game that everyone can enjoy. You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy! Come play with us and experience great food, drinks, music, and a silent auction. All proceeds from this event go directly to the children in our care. Visit for more info and to register. We hope to see you there!

July 2022 Happenings

Wishing everyone a fun and safe summer!

New HHY Foster Family
We’re excited to welcome a new foster family to the HHY Foster Parent Team! Kim O’Brien and her daughter Angeleena, along with their dog, chickens, lizard, cat, and two goats, are ready to welcome a foster teen into their home with love, fun, and Laughter. These two have experience fostering in the past and make a fantastic dynamic duo that serve to welcome any foster teen into their home. We are thrilled to have them as part of the HHY family and look forward to putting their foster family skills to use in the near future. Welcome Angeleena and Kim!

We Love Our Volunteers
Thank you to the Law Firm of Paley Rothman for helping us freshen up our Kemp Mill home. They did an amazing job with their excellent painting skills, and were lots of fun to work with. We appreciate their support for our youth!

It’s Summertime!
It’s always challenging to keep teens busy during the summer months. Here’s what some of our teens are doing this summer:

• Working part time at Popeye’s along with a part time construction job
• Working at McDonald’s
• Attending an afterschool program at the Montgomery Recreation Center
• Training and starting to work as a pet caretaker
• Taking financial literacy classes
• Spending some summer time with a sibling after being separated for a year
• Attending an archeology class
• Taking a vacation with family at Virginia Beach

We hope you and your family are having a great summer!

Staff Appreciation
We were excited to honor our dedicated staff with a staff appreciation party at Topgolf in Germantown. Topgolf has great food, drinks, and the game is super fun to play! Thank you to the board members who came out to celebrate with us. Look for info to come about the FUNraiser we’re planning to have at Topgolf in the fall.

Thank you, Mr. Boddie!
Fred Boddie has been with our agency for 11 years. During the day he‘s a full-time teacher for the Montgomery County School System. When not teaching, Fred shares his time with the young men at our Avis Birely home. He has been a tremendous support and mentor for our youth, and is always in good spirits and willing to help when needed. We are truly grateful for Mr. Boddie and all he does for our young men.

Save the date, November 3, 2022, for our FUNraiser at Topgolf in Germantown.
More info to come!

June 2022 Happenings

Rex Smith 1938 – 2022

It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of one of HHY’s founders, and former CEO, Rex Smith. Rex spent most of his life and career uplifting young people and the community. He made quite an impact in his over 40 years of human services, and he will be greatly missed!


Our Avis Birely therapist, Rhiannon, started Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) with one of the youth in her program, Tony. Tony and Rhiannon completed the TF-CBT model this week with amazing results. On Tony’s Pre-Trauma Screening, he scored 22 points, which is indicative of frequent and intensive trauma related symptoms. After completion of the model and completing the Post-Trauma Screening he scored only a 12, reflective of much lower frequency and intensity of his symptoms! Thank you, Rhiannon, for your dedication and hard work in helping Tony through this treatment process!

Foster Parent of the Month
We are happy to announce that this month’s Foster parent of the Month is Angela Claggett! Angela has been a foster parent with HHY for 2 years. She’s a passionate advocate for the youth in her home by providing a stable and structured home life. She is always willing to go the extra mile to help children accomplish their goals. Angela is resourceful, direct, and hands on. Thank you for everything you do Angela! We appreciate you!

Fun with Staff at Avis Birely

At HHY, we are always looking for fun and creative ways to encourage and support our awesome staff. They work day and night to provide the best care for our kids. This month the staff at our Avis Birely Therapeutic Group Home had an entertaining paint and sip team building experience. Aren’t their pictures cute?!


Join our Team!
We are hiring! You can make a difference in the lives of youth throughout Maryland who are overcoming adversity! Explore career opportunities at Hearts & Homes for Youth. We have the following open positions:
Social Workers, Life Skills Specialists, Senior Counselors, Full Time & Relief Residential Counselors.
Click here to Apply!

APRIL/MAY 2022 Happenings

Celebrating our Young Mothers on Mother’s Day

We celebrated the young mothers in our Damamli Independent Living Program with a Mother’s day Lunch. The girls were treated to a delicious meal at Matthew’s 1600 in Catonsville, MD. They also received gift bags filled with goodies. We are proud of our young mothers!



Rob and Linda Hermann, Foster Parents of the Month for April

We are thrilled to announce the Foster Parent of the Month – Linda and Rob Hermann. These two are an incredibly dedicated couple who have been with Hearts and Homes for over 20 years! Their empathy, consistency, wisdom, and years of experience make them incredible foster and adoptive parents to all the children in their family. We are so lucky to know them and to have seen the positive impacts they have had on foster children over the years.

Hearts & Homes Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Thank you to all of our sponsors and the golfers who participated in our 10th Annual Charity Golf Tourna-ament, especially our Premier Sponsor, Standard Technology, Inc.! We were thrilled to see all of our old friends and make new ones. Thank-fully it turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day. Congratulations to our First Place winners, Halpern Financial; Second Place winners, HUB International; and Third Place winners; Paley Rothman, Attorneys at Law.

Click here to see the photos from the Event!

Thank You Sandra Queen!

Sending a big shout out to Sandra Queen an HHY counselor. Ms. Queen has been with our agency going on 9 yrs. She has been an integral part of our Kemp Mill program. She takes on additional tasks and shifts whenever asked and is a true team player. Ms. Queen always has the youth’s best interest at heart and motivates them to achieve their goals. We are truly grateful to have her.

On to College!

Deshaun has been with us for 7 months coming from Baltimore County. He has been able to attend school on a reduced schedule and work a job while at our Jumpstart program. Program manager, Dion West, took him to University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne for the Engagement Day for Future Freshman at the end of April. Deshaun had a great time and wanted to make it official. Shortly after he received his acceptance letter for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore! We are so happy and excited for him in this next chapter of his life! We wish him the best in all his future endeavors!

A Positive Outing

The young men in our Avis Birely Program were able to attend a motivational event by Tony Hoffman, From Prison to the Olympics. He shared how he reformed his life by setting goals, developing healthy coping skills, and healthy friendships which helped him reform his life.

March 2022 Happenings

March Was Social Work Month!

We celebrated our Social Workers during Social Work Month. A fun night was had by all at the Walrus Oyster and Ale House at Columbia Mall. Our highly qualified team of social workers are vital to the work we do, providing much needed care and support to the youth we serve. They actively engage our youth in individual, group, and family therapy leading them to brighter futures!

We love Our Social Workers!

Speaking of Social Workers, Rhiannon Richards has gone above and beyond in her role as the Social Worker at our Avis Birely Therapeutic Group Home. In the last few weeks there has been a significant transition in leadership at the program, leaving Rhiannon as the remaining consistent face of the program. She has picked up additional programmatic duties to ensure continuity of care for the youth. She has also been providing additional therapeutic support to the young men as they work to adjust to the change in leadership. Rhiannon’s dedication to the wellbeing of our youth is truly admirable, and the agency is lucky to have her as part of the Social Work team!

A Heartfelt Welcome to Our Newest Foster Parents!

Welcome Martha and George Benyella! The Benyellas  are an exceptionally loving couple excited to open their hearts and their home to a foster child in need! As the parents of five adult children, the Benyellas are motivated to continue on parenting and giving back to their community. Both George and Martha are most looking forward to providing steady care and consistent nurturing to any child placed in their home. However, George is particularly excited to play sports with a child while Martha is looking forward to teaching a child how to cook and having lots of good laughs together. Hearts and Homes is so excited to welcome Martha’s warm energy and George’s patient listening ear into our foster parent family!


We are super proud of Marcus, a young man in our foster care program. He competed in his middle school’s spelling bee and won! He then participated in the next round and won again! Now he’s on to the National Spelling Bee contest. We wish him the best and will cheer him on to success!


Don’t forget to sign up for our Charity Golf Tournament!
May 23 – Norbeck Country Club


February 2022 Happenings

Spring is on the horizon and it’s time to get outside and play golf! Please join us at Norbeck Country Club on May 23 for a fun time while supporting our kids. This is a great networking opportunity, since we have many sponsors from top companies playing in the event. It’s also a good time to meet our incredible staff and find out more about what we do each day to help children in need. Visit www.heartsandhomes/golf for more info and to register.  See you on the green!

Meet Our Newest Social Worker

Please join me in welcoming Florence Amankwaa-Asante to HHY as our newest Clinical Case Manager! Florence is an Alum of Howard University. She is a wife and a new mom who loves to cook, write, and hike. She has a passion for children and she loves participating in outreach services anytime she can. She is very involved in her church and is working to be more involved in her community. Florence says, “I’m excited to join this great team and I look forward to working with everyone!” We are so very lucky to have her here with us at HHY!

We’re Excited About These Success Stories!

Jarred recently joined the spring musical at his school! This is the first time he has ever done extracurricular activities at school, and he’s loving it so far! His performance is at the end of March, and the whole program is planning to go to support him.

There were 2 successful discharges from our Helen Smith Home. One young woman was able to reunite with her mom and go home to live. The other young woman has successfully gone on to independent living. She’s working and in school, and her goal is to work at Hearts & Homes one day!

Fun Photo Day

Our executive team had a fun day being photographed for our website bios. Troy “Seven” Timberlake from Ex Voto Studio did an incredible job making us look our best! You may view the results on our website to see what we all look like! If you need a professional picture for yourself or your staff, please check out his website at

December 2021 Happenings

End of the Year Giving Campaign

We are incredibly thankful to all those who participated in our End of the Year Giving Campaign. Your generosity helped us raise over $80,000! We’ve had a couple of difficult years due to COVID, and this money will help us provide all of the services that our kids deserve and need including trauma/abuse focused treatment, educational and job search support, individual/group/family therapy, onsite psychiatric consultation, substance abuse treatment, grief and loss counseling, school enrollment and advocacy,
healthcare, anger and behavior management, and life skills training. We appreciate and are incredibly thankful for your support!

Thank you to all of our Holiday Gift Sponsors for making the holidays brighter for our children! 

Adam and Andrea Abramowitz       Jeff Duckworth
Adam Silverstein                               Katie
Barbara Jordan                                 Kayla Bogle
Brigid Corrigan                                  Kingdom Fellowship A.M.E. Church
Carey Miller                                        Melinda Coolidge
Cheryl Hess                                        Michelle Steffes
Church Women’s Ministries              Mindy Steffes
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Concord St. Andrews Church           Montgomery County Planning Dept.
David Moon                                       Northrop Grumman Corporation
Diener Foundation                             Paley Rothman Attorneys
DLH Corporation                                Paul & Geraldine Stein
Edelman Financial Engines               Sally Dohner
Education Week Silver                       Spring United Methodist Church
Fred Pugh GlaxoSmithKline              Takoma Park Seventh Day Adventist
Jannette Hasan

Our kids were overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity!

Celebrating our Young Mothers

Hearts and Homes loves to take any occasion to celebrate our youth, and the holidays create the perfect chance. We held a Damamli Day of Thanks to recognize our Damamli Independent Living Program mothers and the amazing jobs they do as young parents. Our incredible community partners joined in to make the day extra special with a nail salon, professional portraiture, great food, and gorgeous decorations!


Coats for  our Kids!

We are so excited and grateful to receive these coats from The Children’s Charity Foundation’s Coats for Kids! These stylish coats were much needed to help keep all of our kids safe and warm this winter. The Children’s Charities Foundation has distributed brand new winter coats to more than 27,000 children from 30 charities in the metropolitan area valued at more than $810,000. Thank you to this incredible organization for partnering and helping us once again!

Congratulations to LaVance Gholston, HHY’s Training Coordinator, for his 20 years of service and dedication to our youth! We appreciate you!