All posts by Hearts & Homes for Youth

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 abrandicourt@heartsandhomes.org.
“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

Churches:
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
Visit:www.sweetspacedesign.com

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!

November 2020 Happenings

Holiday Gift Drive – Become a Wishmaker!

Our Holiday Gift Drive is going strong and it’s not too late to contribute. You can give holiday cheer to a child by purchasing items on their wish lists. Your kindness during this season is greatly appreciated by our youth and all of us at Hearts & Homes. Please contact Hazel Eguia at heguia@heartsandhomes.org to get started. Find out more ››

We are Thankful!

Thanksgiving was extra special this year as we reflected on all the things we were thankful for, including you! We are especially thankful for those who helped us in the month of November:
The Woodland Family – Organized and contributed art supplies and games
Kingdom Fellowship A.M.E. Church – Donated 15 turkeys to our homes
Chores for Charities, Kurtis Cross, Marquise Evan’s and Nandos Peri-Peri – Provided 80 Thanksgiving meals to our foster homes, independent living apartments and group homes
Jack & Jill Club of PG County – provided homemade Thanksgiving meals to our JumpStart and Helen Smith group homes
BB&T & Suntrust Bank, now Truist– Contributed care packages through their Lighthouse Project for all of our children, and paint for one of our group homes
Alexandra Martin and Razzle Dazzle Birthdays – Provided a birthday party and gifts to our kids with November Birthdays

  

End of the Year Campaign

As we come to the end of 2020 with the hope of a better year ahead, please consider one last donation to Hearts & Homes. Your contribution helps us provide tutoring sessions, childcare for young mothers, educational & recreational outings, GED programs, vocational trainings, trauma services, diapers & baby supplies for young mothers, life skills trainings and much more. To donate please visit our website www.heartsandhomes.org or mail your check to: Hearts & Homes for Youth, 3919 National Drive, Suite 400, Burtonsville, MD 20866. Thank you for your consideration!

October 2020 Happenings

Virtual Gala Update

Our first online Virtual Charity Gala was a success! We send out heartfelt thanks to all who purchased sponsorships, tickets, silent auction items and viewed the event online. A special thank you to our Premier Sponsor, Aronson, LLC! We greatly appreciate everyone’s help in providing for our children during these challenging times. We’re also very grateful to Automatic Films  for donating their time and expertise in filming the event, Rob Sheer of Comfort Cases for being our MC,  Steven Davis for chairing our gala committee, and Jasmine Green for heading up our gala marketing committee. We wish a bright future for all in 2021 and hope we can meet in person then.
 

Holiday Gift Drive

Each and every year we rely on generous donors like you to help us fulfill the wishes of the children of Hearts & Homes for Youth. Each child or teenager in our care writes a “Wish List”.  If you participate to become a “Wish Maker”, we’ll 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 will be wonderful and would send a message of care and support to our young people. Please email heguia@heartsandhomes.org to become a wish maker.
 

Community Help

Thank you to Lisa Stearns and the Ms. Biz Mornings Networking Group for purchasing and assembling brand new tote bags filled with toiletries for our young women. 
 

A yummy homemade dinner was delivered to our JumpStart and Helen Smith group homes from the Jack & Jill Club, Prince Georges County. Thank you to Zakia Brunson and the club for coordinating several dinner for our kids! 
 

Hero Corner

Heroes are among us!!! LaTonya Gardner, one of our newly licensed foster parents, has been with the Family Ties, Treatment Foster Care program, for almost a year. During her tenure she has been instrumental in supporting the placement of one youth with a history of involvement with the Department of Juvenile Services. The youth had several pending charges and was committed to a detention center for several years prior to placement. Currently the same youth has had no police involvement during his entire stay with Ms. Gardner. The youth has progressed well in school and his outlook on life has improved vastly! The placement has been so successful, Ms. Gardner accepted the youth’s sibling in her home as well. Despite the challenges of raising her own biological child along with youth placed in her home by our agency, Ms. Gardner continues to prevail. Ms. Gardner has a total of three foster youth in her home. The younger youth, while experiencing the impact of trauma and neglect are thriving and getting and stronger by the day! The training and oversight provided by Hearts & Homes for Youth, along with being an amazing, caring and patient human being, Ms. Gardner emerges as a hero and beautiful human being! Even in this time of great national and global distress, Ms. Gardner and many of our Foster Resource Parents forge a path of love by opening their homes and their hearts!

August 2020 Happenings

Your help is needed more than ever as we navigate the new reality of living during a pandemic. More children are entering the child welfare system, thus we have a need for more foster parents who can provide kids  with a loving, safe home and help support families and our community.

Join us for an inspiring evening online as we raise money to help the children in our  Foster Care, Group Homes and Independent Living programs. Discover all that Hearts & Homes has to offer and be part  of building a brilliant future for a child!

For more information, tickets and sponsorship opportunities visit: www.heartsandhomes.org/gala2020
Or contact Valerie Snogren at vsnogren@heartsandhomes.org

We’re Proud of Jason!

This month we successfully discharged one of our Avis Birely residents after 5 months with us. When this youth first arrived, he was understandably frustrated with his situation and was struggling in many facets of his life. He was skipping classes at school, he was experiencing tension in his family relationships, he was experiencing a distrust of others, and on top of all of that he was a new parent. Instead of sitting in his frustration, this youth challenged himself to use his time at Avis Birely to improve his situation. Upon his discharge, this youth had passed his summer class with a B, worked hard in therapy to improve his communication with his mother, and completed a parenting program to help guide him through fatherhood. The amount of hard work and focus that this young man demonstrated in such a short time was amazing and we hope the skills he gained while at Avis Birely help him as he navigates his bright future!

Madison Too!

We’re also proud of Madison who graduated from high school and is on her way to Southern Maryland Community College!

Summer Fun

What did your kids do this summer to stay occupied? It was challenge keeping teenagers busy during the pandemic when they were confined to their homes. Below are some things our kids did to keep busy this summer.

Garden Update

Look what our garden has produced! We’re super excited to see the success of this project. Our JumpStart guys are enjoying the fruits of their labor!

June 2020 Happenings

We are Thankful for our Heroes!

Heroes are among us!!! Foster parents, Mr. Tony & Ms. Amy, are a beautiful example of what it takes to create a home full of love and compassion. Mr. Tony & Ms. Amy accepted three young men in their home over a year and a half ago. The youth came to the attention of local social services due to a history of neglect. Mr. Tony & Ms. Amy have worked with the local referring agency, Hearts & Homes for Youth, as well as the biological family of the three brothers to ensure their overall safety, well-being and successful development. Due to their efforts one of the brothers has transitioned to an Independent Living program where he is offered to live in an apartment and gain valuable life skills to ensure his future success. The oldest brother who suffers with cognitive delays has improved his communications skills and will soon successfully complete high school. Each Brother remains in therapy and are meeting their individual goals successfully. Mr. Tony & Ms. Amy have continued to make great sacrifices for all three youth to ensure they know they are loved and supported. There are many struggles in raising youth who suffer with mental health concerns and can become overwhelmed with their past trauma stories. However, these two amazing foster parents press toward a mark of excellence shrouded in love, patience and understanding. The training and oversight provided by Hearts & Homes for Youth, along with being amazing, caring and patient human beings, Mr. Tony & Ms. Amy emerge as heroes! Even in this time of great national and global distress, Mr. Tony & Ms. Amy and many of our Foster Resource Parents forge a path of love by opening their homes and their hearts!
Kevin Beverly, President of Social & Scientific Systems with help from Melissa Boone and Alicia Thomas, have continually provided dinners for the young men at our Avis Birely Home. Kevin is a wonderful chef. His homemade delivered dinners are a real hit with the guys, who were also excited to receive clothing, sports equipment and personal care items from Kevin, Alicia and Melissa.
Sharonda Jones, Founder and Executive Director of the Little Phoenixes Foundation, donated copies of her book, Nevertheless, Peace in Spite of Pain along with tote bags from the University of The District of Columbia, Frisbees and some personal care items for our young ladies. The Little Phoenixes Foundation is dedicated to encouraging youth to dream a bright future, empowering them to believe in their ability, and inspiring them to rise above the challenges and circumstances they face. They offer mentoring, after school programs and summer enrichment programs. www.LittlePhoenixesFoundation.org
Jazmyn McKoy, Founder of the Heart of Tabitha Foundation generously donated a meal from Cava to our Helen Smith Girls’ Home. The girls loved being treated to a delicious meal delivered to the home. Jazmyn also donated paint, paint brushes, string, chalk markers, string, a basketball and several art canvases to the program. The girls are excited about having a paint night at the house. The Heart of Tabitha Foundation is dedicated to preparing, inspiring, and guiding economically and socially disadvantaged students to achieve their post-secondary goals, enroll in college and/or learn about career options, and have a greater chance at living a fulfilling life. www.heartoftabithafoundation.org/

Teenagers Make the Most of Downtimes

Look how their garden has grown! In April we promised pictures of the garden that the young men of our JumpStart program planted. Tomatoes, squash, potatoes, Zinnias, and other veggies have popped up, and some are almost ready to eat!

 

 

Our 2020 Annual Charity Gala is Going Virtual

Your help is needed more than ever as we navigate the new reality of living during a pandemic. More children are entering the child welfare system, thus we have a need for more foster parents who can provide kids with a loving, safe home and help support families and our community. Join us for an inspiring evening online as we raise money to help the children in our Foster Care, Group Homes and Independent Living programs. Discover all that Hearts & Homes has to offer and be part of building a brilliant future for a child!

Online October 15, 2020 – 7pm

 

True Heroes Live Here

We are thankful to the many people who have supported us during this pandemic. They are our heroes!

Mark Futrovsky, President of Rolyn Companies, provided pizza for all of our group homes.
Alicia Thomas of DLH Corporation had dinner delivered to the guys at our Avis Birely Home for 3 nights from their favorite places to eat.
Stacey Decker organized a donation drive for us at the offices of Education Week.
Larry Davis created a fundraising event for us on his Facebook page.
The Law Firm of Paley Rothman donated much needed hand sanitizers.
Kingdom Fellowship AME Church donated nonperishable goods to the young mothers in our Damamli Independent Living Program.
Andrew Seested, Wells Fargo, donated art supplies.
Jon Watkins donated a Wii
Kayla Kania and Cindy Cruz organized a neighborhood drive collecting food, books, games and a PS3 station.
Vietnamese American Services, Lauren Gallagher Perrella, Hazel Eguia, Anke Mann, Alison Cummings, Deanna Crouse, Ta-Keisha Smith – These people donated much needed masks.
Kevin Beverly, President of Social & Scientific Systems – Delivered his homemade spaghetti sauce and banana bread to our Avis Birely Home

The following heroes generously donated funds to help us with the extra COVID costs:

Alan Schulman, Insurance, Benefits & Advisers, Inc.
Elaine Krueger
Rebecca Martin
Lee Mintz
Keith Jennings, Snyder Cohn, PC
Dr. Judith Bernardi
Mike Whitehurst, Centrus Energy
Mark Bomster
Kathryn Turner, Standard Technology Inc.
Melissa Tarkett, Aronson
Kathleen McCallum, Ronald D. Paul Companies, Inc.
Judith Sadowsky
Liana Loewus
Ike & Catherine Leggett
Lynn Bennett
Aaron Ghais
Kinya Stewart
Michael Kurlancheek , Lime
Dr. Cyrus Katzen Foundation
Aronson

April 2020 Happenings

Wishing you and your loved ones safety and wellness during
this difficult time in the world.

We are Thankful!
We have much to be thankful for during these difficult times. First off, we are extremely thankful for our program managers, senior counselors, counselors, independent living support staff, and foster parents. They are true heroes for coming to work each day to take care of our kids, and are working hard to keep everyone safe, fed, and entertained! We’ve had many generous donations from supporters who care about our mission and kids. Sending out a heartfelt thanks to the following people that helped us in April:

The Law Firm of Paley Rothman – Our friends at Paley Rothman donated over 100hard to get hand sanitizers to help us stay safe.
Kingdom Fellowship AME Church – These longtime supporters of our youth donated non-perishable goods to young mothers, many who have lost their jobs, in our Damamli Independent Living Program.
Mark Futrovsky, President of Rolyn – Mark thoughtfully sent pizzas for dinner to all of our group homes. YUM! The kids were thankful!
Vietnamese American Services, Lauren Gallagher Perrella, Hazel Eguia, Anke Mann, Alison Cummings, Deanna Crouse, Ta-Keisha Smith – These individuals donated much needed masks that they were able to obtain or make.
Andrew Seested, HHY Board Member – Donated art supplies providing our youth with tools to express their creative spirit.
Jon Watkins – Jon generously donated a Wii to help keep our kids entertained and occupied.
Kayla Kania and Cindy Cruz – These HHY supporters organized a neighborhood drive collecting food, books, games and a PS3 station.
Keith Jennings & Alan Schulman, Board members – We are thankful for their generous monetary donations.

Helping Teenagers Make the Most of Downtime
The young men in our JumpStart Semi Independent Living Program came up with a great idea. They noticed an empty space in the yard and decided to plant a garden there. It’s in the planning stage now, but they are excited to get their hands in the dirt and start digging! Stay tuned for updates on their progress.

What Success Looks Like
A young lady at our Helen Smith program has successfully passed all of her classes and will be graduating high school with her diploma! When entering our program she was struggling with substance use and has been able to remain substance free for over 30 days. In addition, she is being successfully discharged and has been accepted to an Independent Living Program which means she will be living in her own apartment. She will continue to receive support in her new program as she learns to live independently.


Hearts & Homes is participating in Giving Tuesday Now, a global day of giving on May 5, 2020. If you would like to support us by donating or helping us out during the pandemic, please visit https://heartsandhomes.org/giving-tuesday/. Thank you!

 

Golf Tournament Update!
Unfortunately due to the current crisis our world is facing, we had to cancel our golf tournament that was scheduled for May 15 at Norbeck Country club. We will miss seeing all of our golfing friends and supporters this year, but hope to try to have the event next year when the world is in a better place.