All posts by Hearts & Homes for Youth

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.


Share-A-Haircut – Feb. 1st and 2nd!

11222407_10154060717164746_6554481522931634159_nWe are excited to announce that Hair Cuttery is conducting its third 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!

On February 1st and February 2nd every time a haircut is purchased at any Hair Cuttery salon, Hair Cuttery will donate a free haircut certificate to Hearts and Homes for Youth!

In 2015, Hair Cuttery donated 50,000 free haircut certificates to members of our communities! Let’s make it happen again!

Youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints extend the giving season

IMG_3929The Columbia 2nd Ward Young Women and Young Men Organizations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints spent the holidays collecting  “Jeans for Teens”!

The donation from The Columbia 2nd Ward Young Women and Young Men Organizations is extraordinarily appreciated! Especially with the weather getting colder, jeans are a tremendous commodity! The material is durable, versatile and comfortable.

Hearts & Homes for Youth serves youth who have experience abuse, neglect or other trauma, and many of the youth come into our care with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. For all of our youth, and especially the youth in our emergency shelter, jeans are invaluable.

The Columbia 2nd Ward Young Women and Young Men Organizations decided in early December to collect jeans for fellow teens who are overcoming adversity. They said that having jeans to wear will help teens feel more like the fit in among their peers and can be worn longer between washing. The inspiring group of youth recognized that they, as well as their families, friends and neighbors, have good jeans that are never worn. They encouraged the community to donated good, clean jeans of varying sizes. In addition to several sweatshirts, clothing, and toys, the youth group collected a total of 90 jeans! They also took the time to write inspirational thoughts on pieces of paper that they put into a pocket of each pair of jeans!

Hearts & Homes for Youth is grateful to this youth group for the generous support and for thinking of the needs their peers across the state of Maryland, and how to make the New Year a little bright for them.