All posts by Hearts & Homes for Youth

November 2021 Happenings

Thanksgiving at HHY

Our kids enjoyed delicious Thanksgiving meals due to the generosity of our supporters. Many thanks to Karyn Gross for donating 6 turkeys along with Giant gift cards. We’re also thankful once again to Kingdom Fellowship Church for their generous donation of turkeys and fixings for scrumptious Thanksgiving dinners for all of our HHY youth.


Youth Support

It’s a joy to see young people connect with their community and give back! Every year the children at the Sheridan School in DC share their Halloween candy with our kids, and this year was no exception. We received boxes of yummy treats that will bring much snacking happiness!
The Girl Up club at Berman Hebrew Academy packed up and donated 97 boxes filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, lotion, shampoo, a deck of cards, and dental floss. These will be nice welcoming packages for our incoming kids. We’re thankful for youth giving back to youth!


Foster Parent Spotlight

Ms. Shara Simms and her son Liam will be joining the HHY team as our newest foster family! Shara and Liam are celebration enthusiasts who love to experience seasonal activities like sledding, apple picking, swimming at the pool, visiting the park, and going on cool trips together. This duo is excited to welcome a third individual into their home so that they can share their love of having fun with a child in need of care, safety, and nurturing. When 5-year-old Liam was asked how he would feel playing with someone who may not be that good at sharing yet or know how to play well with others, he wisely responded “I suppose I will have to practice my patience.” Clearly, we are incredibly lucky to have these two join our team, and we know that they will make a huge difference in the life of a child placed in their care.

End of the Year Giving

Thank you to everyone who has generously given to our End of the Year and Giving Tuesday campaigns. We still need your help to provide the best care for our kids 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. All donations are tax deductible, so please consider helping us as 2021 comes to a close. We thank you for your consideration!

Our Holiday Gift Drive is going strong! There is still time to make the holiday wishes of a child come true. If you would like to participate, please contact:
Hazel Eguia at

October Happenings 2021

End of the Year campaign – Planting the Seeds of Change

Dear Supporters – The youth and families we serve have faced considerable challenges throughout their lives including extensive trauma at home and in their community. Our families need our support as they don’t always have the resources needed to safely support their children. As a result of barriers, our young people have significant mental health diagnoses and considerable setbacks in their day-to-day functioning. It is not uncommon for our youth to experience anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, PTSD, and a general mistrust of others, which is why our supportive services are so critical to help them begin their journey of healing. Community support is vital to provide the best services for our youth, and we need your help! If you would like to help us plant a seed of change for a child, please Click here to learn more. Thank you!

Make a Wish Come true!

The holiday season is upon us! Every year many of you help make wishes come true by participating in our Holiday Gift Drive. Through the generosity of our gift givers, we are able to provide holiday gifts to all of the children in our care. If you would like to provide some holiday cheer to a child, please contact Hazel Eguia at or visit Click here for more information. Many thanks!

Staff Spotlight

Introducing Toni: Toni Robinson is our Intake and Admissions Intern! Toni chose to work at Hearts & Homes because she is interested in working with foster youth, and children in general. Toni is currently a student at UMBC, and will be graduating with her Bachelor’s in Social Work the fall of 2022. She plans to get an MSW and her license in the future! She chose Social Work as her major because she has had a passion for helping others ever since she was a young child. Toni loves going to the beach during all seasons, but especially during the summer. She has four dogs, and has never been on a plane!
Many of our interns end up becoming full time employees when they graduate. We love having them intern with us!

Thank you to Truist Bank!

We are thankful to Truist Bank for their continual help for our kids through their Lighthouse Project. This year we were blessed by 2 Lighthouse Projects! Many thanks to Steven Davis for organizing a work day at our Mary’s Mount Manor home. We received 2 beautiful leather sofas, and the volunteers painted several rooms and cleaned up the yard. Henry Chavez organized his Truist group, and they donated much needed household items to our Helen Smith Home including sheets, comforters, towels, and kitchen/bathroom supplies. We greatly appreciate Truist Bank’s support of the children in our care!

Each child or teenager in our care writes a “Wish List”. If you volunteer to become a “Wish Maker”, we will send you the name, age, and wishes of the child you choose to help. Some groups adopt a household full of children, while others give a gift or two. Any help you give would be wonderful and will send a message of care and support to our young people.

Helpful Tips:           

  •  Do not feel obligated to fulfill the entire wishlist. Anything you can to help the children would be wonderful.
  •  Please do not wrap your gifts, but gift bags are greatly appreciated. Label your items with the child’s name and program name.
  • If you bundle gifts into boxes or plastic bags, you can just use one label for all.
  • If you are donating gift certificates, please put them in a sealed envelope.
  • We can arrange pick-up of the gift donations if needed. If delivering gifts, please deliver to:

HHY, 3919 National Drive, Suite 400
Burtonsville, MD 20866

  • All donations should be received by Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. If this is not possible, please call.

August 2021 Happenings

Thank you DLH Corporation!

For the past 19 years the DLH Corporation, previously known as Social & Scientific Systems, has been generously providing our kids with backpacks full of school supplies. We’re thankful that this year once again we can send them to school fully equipped to start a successful new school year! Thank you to DLH, Alicia Thomas, and the ladies that put this project together pictured here with our CEO, Chloe Perez.

Foster Parent Picnic

HHY celebrated our foster parents with a Foster Parent Appreciation Picnic at Centennial Park! The HHY family got to enjoy a fun-filled afternoon with good company, food, carnival games, and a raffle. It was awesome to see our foster parents interacting with each other – sharing stories and giving support. Our teen foster children got a kick out of challenging their peers to games of Uno, taking goofy pictures with our DIY photo booth, and hanging out in the sunshine soaking up some much-needed vitamin D. The smaller foster children spent the afternoon playing with balloons and bubbles! Lastly, we were joined by two of our esteemed board members who got to meet the staff, foster children, and foster parents in attendance.

Celebrating Success!

We are super proud of the young man in one of our programs who received an Elite Achiever Award from his place of employment, Petco. He received this award for his outstanding customer service and doubling the amount of sales in the department he works in. We congratulate him for his achievement!

Roma Marshall, LCSW-C

Meet Roma Marshall, HHY’s Chief Administrator and Clinical Director for our Damamli Independent Living and Therapeutic Foster Care programs. Ms. Roma is a sensational advocate for her team and for the youth in our care. She is a great role model for those she supervises, her sense of humor keeps everyone laughing, and her problem solving abilities are legendary. Thank you for everything that you do, Ms. Roma!

July 2021 Happenings

It’s Summertime!

What are your kids doing this summer? At Hearts & Homes our kids have been busy enjoying the break from school. Lots of them are working summer jobs at places including Panera, Dash In, Burger King and Pet Smart. The girls at Mary’s Mount enjoy swimming at local pools and even took a day trip to Ocean City. They also go to Zumba classes every Monday. Our guys have been enjoying going to the movies and the gym, swimming, and boxing.

HHY Receives Help from the Boy Scouts!

We are grateful to Jarrett Walker, a senior at Blake High School and a member of Boy Scout Troop 96, for making Hearts & Homes the recipient of his Eagle Scout Project! Jarrett collected much needed items including personal care products, boxers, slides, and tee shirts for the children in our care and delivered them to our main office. We’re very thankful to Jarrett for giving back to the community and supporting our kids! Jarrett is pictured on the right with his fellow scout, Donovan Prophet.

LaVance Gholston, Training Coordinator

Meet LaVance Gholston, our Training Coordinator. He spends his days prepping and teaching continuing education trainings for HHY staff, clinicians, and foster parents. All of our counselors are required to have 40 hours of trainings each year to equip them to better serve our kids. They receive the CPR/First Aid training, Mental Health First Aid training, Mandt System training, and many other specific trainings dealing with issues that affect our kids.

Foster Parent of the Month – Tyease Johnson

Ms. Tyease is an absolutely devoted and extraordinarily competent foster parent who truly treats each child placed in her care as though she has known them since birth. Her disciplined yet compassionate character enables her to create a balance between structure and flexibility that is hugely beneficial for youth with trauma, previous displacement, and other adjustment behaviors. Ms. Tyease spends intentional time each day with her foster youth and works extremely hard to understand any misbehaviors in an empathetic and patient way. Due to Ms. Tyease’s intuitive parenting style, children placed in her care inevitably grow and develop life skills, social competencies, educational resilience, and self-care techniques that contribute to their success in the future. We are so lucky to have Ms. Tyease as a foster parent with HHY and look forward to seeing her positive impact grow!

There is a great need for foster parents. If you have ever thought about foster parenting, we can help! Contact Annie Brandicourt – for info on how you can change a child’s life.

June 2021 Happenings

Ahoy, Matey!!!

School is over and summer is here! Thanks to First Mate Sawyer and Captain Evie of Howard County Pirate Adventures, we now have 50 AMC movie tickets and snack vouchers for our kids. They also provided 50 pool passes for Columbia Outdoor Pools! Visit for info on how your child can have an exciting pirate adventure in Howard County.

We’re also thankful for donations from the vendors at Savage Mill including diapers and personal care products. Omnihedral donated many exciting board games for our kids to try out. There are lots of unique shopping experiences at Historic Savage Mill. Check it out!

Big Day of Service

Lots of fun was had and lots of work was done by the volunteers from Union Church’s Big Day of Service. These energetic workers painted 4 bedrooms in our Avis Birely home and cleaned up the leaves and yard debris at our Kemp Mill home.  The boys love their freshly painted rooms! Many thanks to Union Church for their service!

Party in the Parking Lot

Braving the cicadas and the hot sun, we celebrated our dedicated staff with a party in our Burtonsville office parking lot. Althea’s Almost Famous food truck was on hand providing yummy Jamaican food. We had lively music, fun games, and raffled off many prizes. We love our staff and are thankful for their dedication to the children of Hearts & Homes!

Ronda Brown, Foster Care Admin. Support Specialist

Here is a quick behind the scenes look at one of Hearts and Homes most crucial employees, Ms. Ronda, Foster care Administrative Support Specialist! She’s essential to the functioning of the organization and is calm in the face of any crisis. She comes up with quick and clever solutions to problems, making her the go-to person in a quandary, large or small! Thanks for all that you do, Ronda. HHY is lucky to have you!

Foster Parent Spotlight

Help us in welcoming Tammy and Nicole Carter, our newest foster parents! Tammy and Nicole are hard-working, compassionate, and enthusiastic. They have a vibrant family group and are excited to bring a child into their loving home environment. Both Tammy and Nicole are smart and passionate individuals who care about the wellbeing of all of the kids in their lives- from nieces and nephews to children of family friends!. They both love spending time with children and they feel as though they have the capacity and the nurturing qualities necessary to care for a foster child. Tammy and Nicole are excited to welcome their first placement this upcoming week and we are excited to support them as they begin their fostering journey.

We cherish your kind support for our kids by participating in our 9th Annual Charity Golf Tournament! The weather cleared up after a rainy morning, and we hope you all had a fun day. We had lots of fun, and loved seeing you all after a challenging year.

Congratulations to the winners!

1st Place: TekSynap Team – Beverage Sponsor, Score 56
2nd Place: Goodman, Gable, Gould Adjusters International Team – Lunch Sponsor, Score 58
3rd Place: Geico, The Patrick Donoho Team – Hole Sponsor, Score 59

Closest to the Pin Winner: Joe Donoho from the Geico Team
Longest Drive Winner: Andy Hoffman from the Goodman, Gable, Gould Team

Thank you all for your generosity to the children in our care! We appreciate you, and hope to see you again in 2022!

February Happenings

Hearts & Homes on the Green!

It’s already March, and the weather is warming up. That means it’s time to play golf! Hearts & Homes is hosting our 9th Annual Charity Golf Outing on Monday, May 24 at Norbeck Country Club. The entire event will be outside. Gather your friends/colleagues for a fun, safe time on the course at Norbeck. We’re offering a discounted price for foursomes and individual player signups during the month of March, so now is the time to sign up!
The proceeds from this event will go directly to build brighter futures for the young people we serve each day.

to sign up!

Fun in February!

The creative counselors in our Mary’s Mount Therapeutic Group Home created a fun filled Spirit Week for the young ladies in the program. They celebrated Pajama Day, Twin Day, Wacky Wear Day, Throwback Day, and Vine & Meme Day. They had much fun dressing up in crazy costumes, dipping strawberries in chocolate and perfecting their karaoke skills. There was a surprise gift for the winner of the week.

We welcome these talented women to our Hearts & Homes family!

Nicole Smith, LCSW-C – Clinical Director

Nicole earned her Master’s in Social Work from University of Maryland-Baltimore. She started her career with Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services and worked for them for 6 years gaining multitudes of experience and knowledge, including applying trauma-informed approaches, working on a multidisciplinary team, and utilizing non-violent crisis intervention techniques.
Nicole then took a leap to broaden her professional experiences. She accepted a job as Program Manager for a Residential Crisis home where she continued to apply her clinical skills working with adults in mental health crises, while starting to develop supervisory and administrative skills. As wonderful and educational as this role was, her heart remained with the juvenile population.
Coming to work for Hearts and Homes as the Clinical Director seemed like the perfect way to apply all of Nicole’s professional experiences while allowing her to once again feel the fulfillment of working with the population whom she is serving. She is very passionate about helping youth gain the skills and confidence needed to become successful adults.
Nicole has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2017 and became a Board Approved Supervisor in 2020. She is a Certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer. She also provides individual therapy to kids and young adults in a private practice setting.

Robin Colbert, Program Director for Group Homes

Robin began her career with the Agency in 2018 and worked for a year and a half as a Residential Counselor and then Senior Counselor. She returned in 2020 as the Program Manager at Mary’s Mount Manor, and helped stabilize and build the program.
Robin has her Bachelors in Accounting from Francis Marion University, and a Masters in Economic Development from Peru State University. While completing her Masters at Peru State, she learned that she had a passion for mentoring and developing youth. “Working at Hearts and Homes has truly been a pleasure, and I plan to continue helping shape and mold our youth into young adults.”

January Happenings

Meet Roma Marshall, LCSW-C, Chief Administrator/Clinical Director Damamli & Therapeutic Foster Care Programs

Roma first came to HHY as a social worker after graduating with her MSW from Howard University. Most recently, Roma worked as the clinical supervisor in a level-5/non-public special education school. Roma has rejoined our HHY family as the Chief Administrator of the Damamli and Family Ties Foster Care programs. Roma is a certified trauma therapist for children and adolescents and is passionate about providing trauma-informed programming to youth in the foster care system. She is committed to working towards increasing HHY’s services and reach to meet the needs of vulnerable youth and families.

Meet JanQueshia Gay, LMSW, Program Director for Damamli/TFC

JanQueshia is a proud alumna of Morgan State University where she obtained her bachelors in Sociology, and learned to appreciate the love of community and advocacy. She obtained her Masters in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University and Masters in Social Work from University of Maryland-Baltimore. JanQueshia had the pleasure of working with HHY as an intern and is excited to return in the role as Program Director for Family Ties Therapeutic Foster Care and our Damamli Independent Living and Therapeutic Foster care for young mothers. With near a decade of experience working in the field, she has an extensive knowledge of trauma informed care. She has worked as a mentor, an advocate, and most importantly a change agent to an abundance of youth within the child welfare system. JanQueshia truly enjoys investing in the youth of today so that they can build a better tomorrow for all.

We’re excited to welcome these exceptional women to our Hearts & Homes family!

Foster Parent of the Month awarded to…Mr. James Everheart!

Nominated for this award by HHY staff and friends, Mr. Everheart embodies the spirit of what it means to be a foster parent. Mr. Everheart truly embraces each child that is placed with him as part of his home and his family. He works hard to ensure that each child feels wanted, cared for, and safe. Instead of jumping to conclusions about a child’s behavior, Mr. Everheart uses empathy, compassion, and critical thinking to place himself in that child’s shoes. Additionally, Mr. Everheart goes the extra mile to let each child know that he cares for them. HHY staff fondly remember how Mr. Everheart has accompanied kids to the hospital, stayed by their side the entire time, and only gone home to shower before coming right back! For this level of dedication, perseverance, flexibility, and patience, we have awarded Mr. James Everheart the Foster Parent of the Month February 2021 Award. We could not do what we do here at Hearts and Homes without Foster Parents that are as competent and talented as he is. Thank you, Mr. Everheart!

Our Children Need Homes!

Are you looking for a way to make a difference, space for personal growth, and moments of fulfilling connection with our youth? If so, consider joining the Hearts and Homes for Youth Foster Parent Team! As spring rolls around, we are in the process of recruiting new foster parents for children in need of caring and supportive homes. We are hoping that individuals like you can join our team or help us get connected with other potential foster families! If you, or someone you know would be interested in more information, please refer them or reach out yourself to our Recruitment and Retention Specialist, Annie Brandicourt, at 231-412-7812 or
“My favorite part of being a foster parent is giving back to the community, being able to help someone who needs it. These kids who were not as fortunate as I was or as my kids were, to be with their parents, so then to be able to love them… I love it.” -Thelma Lovings

HHY Charity Golf Tournament – Save the Date for our Golf Outing – Monday, May 24, 2021 at Norbeck Country Club. Details to follow!

December 2020 Happenings

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!

Holiday Gift Drive 

The spirit of the season was in full force this year at Hearts & Homes. In spite of social distancing, facemasks and quarantines, our community of givers came through for our kids! Each one of them received gifts on their wish lists plus gift cards to purchase additional items. We are extremely grateful to everyone that participated. Your generosity made the season bright for all, and we are thankful!

Thank you to all of our Holiday Gift Drive Sponsors!

Individual Givers:
Adam Abramowitz, Beth Allen, Charlene Bolden, Kathy Cannon, Melinda Coolidge, David Moon, Joy Griffin, Adam Silverstein, Michelle Dean, Grant Denny,
Jeff Duckworth, Andrea Goldin, Barbara Jordan, Megan Landry, Carey Miller
Fred Pugh, Priscilla Scott, David & Stacey Shapiro, Trish Weaver

Corporate Givers:
Paley Rothman Law Firm, BB&T/Suntrust now Truist Bank, MC County Planning Dept., Merle Norman Cosmetics /Gifts, Council of the Great City Schools
Edelman Financial Engines, GlaxoSmithKline, Education Week Magazine
DLH Corporation, Beth Allen Enterprises, Centrus Energy, Northrop Grumman

Kingdom Fellowship A.M.E., Concord St. Andrew’s
Takoma Park 7th Day Adventist, Silver Spring United Methodist

Thank you for making the holidays Joyful for our children!

End of the Year Giving Campaign

We are overwhelmed by the kindness and care of the 102 people who donated to our End of the Year Campaign. It’s been a tough year for all, but that did not deter your generosity. We raised a generous sum thanks to YOU! Your help enables us to provide a safe environment, positive opportunities, and comfort to the youth in our care. It is the thoughtfulness and generosity of our donors that help keep our agency alive and thriving! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

A Special Thank you to SweetSpace Interior Design

The young men in our Avis Birely Therapeutic Group Home received a special treat from SweetSpace Design – a total room makeover! They asked each guy what theme they would like for their room, then donated their design time and all items to make their room special including new sheets, comforters, pillows, bean bags, lamps, rugs, nightstands and decorative items. They also bought paint for the rooms which we’ll be working on soon. Look for an update in our next newsletter!