Category Archives: Hearts & Homes events

March 2023 Happenings

Hooray to our Social Workers!

Every year, we honor our social workers during National Social Worker Appreciation Month in March. They celebrated spending a little downtime together at a restaurant, having dinner, and talking about the many positive contributions of their professions. With the daily case loads they face every day at work and their determination in assessing our kids with counseling and resources they provide a very important role at Hearts & Homes. We appreciate their hard work and dedication in promoting the well-being of our kids and helping them improve and be more productive.  We are thankful for their amazing job in keeping our organization operating smoothly and efficiently, and always putting their best footforward!

HHY Employee Highlight

Rhiannon Pinhak, Social Worker
Ms. Rhiannon first moved to DC from Colorado for college and then decided to stay in the DC area. After spending a year as a volunteer for a girls group home in Bolivia, Rhiannon went on to graduate school for social work. She interned with Hearts and Homes at one of the girls group homes and loved the experience. After grad school, Rhiannon came back to Hearts and Homes as a licensed social worker. She has been at the Avis Birely home as the Program  Therapist/Social Worker since September 2021. She loves working with the residents and watching them grow and realize their goals!

Come and Join the Fun!

There is still time to register for our annual charity golf tournament at Norbeck Country Club this coming May 22nd! Please gather your friends and enjoy an amazing time networking while helping us raise money for the youth in our care.

To sign up, please visit or email Valerie Snogren at

We are Hiring!

At Hearts & Homes, you are joining an organization where you can make a difference in the lives of youth who are overcoming adversity throughout the state Maryland! Come and explore opportunities at Hearts & Homes.  We are a dedicated staff of child welfare professionals committed to the growth and development of our employees. We offer a comprehensive employee benefits package, including: Clinical supervision for Social Workers, Extensive training program and CEU, Opportunity for promotions, Employee benefits, Generous leave, Affordable medical, dental, and vision insurance, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Company paid life, long-term disability, and AD&D insurance, 403(B) retirement program and company matching.

February 2023 Happenings

Come and Play!

We have a lot of fun 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 11th Annual Charity Golf Outing on Monday, May 22 at Norbeck Country Club. Gather your friends/colleagues for a great 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.​

Foster parent ​of the Month​

We are happy to announce Kim O’Brien as February foster parent of the month. Kim provides a loving and stable home environment for the youth in her care. She is a great advocate and always willing to take on a challenge. She understands the importance of bio family relationships and goes above​ and beyond to ensure that the youth in her care have a relationship with their family. Thank you, Kim for everything you do. Your hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed.​



We are thrilled to report that a young man in our Jumpstart Program is scheduled to graduate this year and has been accepted into 3 Colleges – Towson University, Morgan State, and UMUC. He is awaiting responses from other colleges before he decides where he would like to attend. We are proud of the accomplishments of this young man despite the difficulties that he’s faced in his life.​

Foster Parent Training Sessions​

At Hearts & Homes we provide training sessions to help our foster parents deal with issues they may face. Some of the training topics have included Healthy Conflict Resolution, Motivational Interviewing 101, and Adolescent Development. The training sessions also provide a time for the parents to discuss and share their achievements and concerns with each other.​

The need for foster parents is great! If you have ever considered fostering a youth, please contact our Foster Parent Recruiter, ​Annie Brandicourt, at ​

February was Black History Month​

At Hearts & Homes we celebrate Black History Month and honor the achievements and struggles of African Americans who have greatly contributed to our nation’s history. We are inspired each day by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King:​

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”​

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

January 2023 Happenings

A Warm Welcome to New Foster Parents

Michelle and Troy Willis live in Glen Burnie, MD (Anne Arundel County), in a house with 2 spare rooms for foster youth. They have a passion for DIY projects, arts and crafts, and new technology (so their home is absolutely lovely). Michelle enjoys shopping, hiking, skiing, watching movies, and spending time with children. Troy likes games (board and video), skateboarding, snowboarding, sports, and spending time with family. Both Troy and Michelle are laid back parents who also excel with clear expectations, creative consequences, and proficiency in working with a child’s biological family. They are both lovely, empathetic, and warm individuals.

January Foster Parents of the Month

We are thrilled to announce Carolyn and Kenneth Bartee as January foster parents of the month. Carolyn and Kenneth are compassionate and nurturing foster parents. They are trauma informed and always willing to put their own personal feelings and needs aside to provide the best possible care. Thank you, Carolyn and Kenneth for being exemplary foster Parents. We appreciate you!

Have you ever considered becoming a foster parent? If you would like more information, please email Annie Brandicourt at: or call Annie at (231) 412-7812.

We’re Thankful for Community Support!

It was wonderful to receive this generous donation from the Gamma lota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. They stocked us up with umbrella strollers and baby care products for the young mothers in our Damamli Program. Many thanks go to Jazmyn Colon-Johnson for organizing this donation drive for us!


We’re especially grateful to Narrisa Johnson. She started her own organization, Gooddeed NJ, LLC to give back to the community. Hearts & Homes is the first organization to receive a very generous financial donation from Narrisa. She’s pictured holding the sign with her son hiding behind her. 🙂

Kimberle Searcy from the Jack and Jill Club of PG County dropped off many toiletry bags for young women coming into our programs. She is shown with a sampling of them.

The purpose of the Jack and Jill Club is to provide social, cultural and educational opportunities for youth between the ages of two and nineteen. Find out more at:

Calling all Social workers

A magnificent team of Hearts & Homes social workers visited the University of Maryland to recruit graduating social workers at the UMD job fair. The need for social workers is great and we’re hiring!

Hearts & Homes is a fantastic and rewarding place to work, and we provide great benefits. Find out more at or email your resume to Nicole Smith at:

December 2022 Happenings

Wishing all of our friends a Happy New Year!

Thank you for Holiday Gift Drive and End of the Year Contributions

Our Hearts & Homes kids were super excited to receive their many holiday gifts from all who participated in our Holiday Gift Drive. Everyone was so generous, and each child in our care had many of their wishes fulfilled! It touches our hearts to see the love extended by the community to our children. Many, many thanks to all our Wishmakers!

Adam Abramowitz & Andrea Goldin, Alan & Sue Krueger, Arlene Brens, Barbara Jordan, Beltz Family, Carey Miller, Charlene Bolden, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – Savage Mill & Columbia 2nd Wards, Concord St. Andrews Church, Council of the Great City Schools, David Moon & Melissa Coolidge, Dan Vallone, DLH Corporation, Edelman Financial Engines, Education Week, Elevation Ministries, Fred Pugh, Jannette Hasan, Kingdom Fellowship A.M.E. Church, Lindsey Auriemma, Mike & Nan Whitehurst, Michelle Steffes, Mindy Steffes, Montgomery County Planning Dept., Paley Rothman Attorneys, Shacarra Johnson Meridian, Silver Spring United Methodist Church, Stephanie Haynes, Susan Massey, Takoma Park Seventh Day Adventist Church Women’s Ministries, Vivianna Rivera

We also are very grateful to everyone who contributed to our End of the Year Campaign. Your financial donation helps us provide our deserving kids with the best care.
All of us at HHY are overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and generosity!

Welcome New Foster Parents!

We are super excited to welcome the wonderful Shontel and Mike Bracewell to our foster parent team! Shontel and Mike are a kind and welcoming couple who are excited to jump right into therapeutic foster care. Shontel is warm and intuitive, while Mike is laid back with a great sense of humor. Mike enjoys sports of all kinds, relaxing on the couch, and doing fun activities with Shontel. Shontel loves shows, shopping, festivals, family time, community activities, and watching movies with Mike. They have a very adorable and friendly labradoodle named Coko. Please join us in welcoming Mike and Shontel to Hearts and Homes!

Hearts & Homes Receives an Award from Montgomery County


Hearts and Homes had the pleasure of being honored by County Executive Marc Elrich for all the hard work we do in the community. It was a privilege to have lunch with him and his team and talk about the needs of the kids and families we serve. They also participated in our Holiday Gift Drive providing us with many gifts for our kids. Thank you, Marc Elrich and team, we appreciate you!!!

Yum! Crumbl Cookies for kids! We graciously accepted this yummy cookie donation from Crumbl Cookies in Waugh Chapel. Many thanks to them for thinking of us and sharing their wonderfully delicious cookies!

October/ November 2022 Happenings

FUNraiser at Topgolf

Thank you to all of our generous sponsors who helped make our 2022 FUNraiser a great success, especially our Premier Sponsor, Standard Technology! We had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones, playing the game of Topgolf, eating yummy food, and dancing to the tunes of the Dynamic DJ Entertainment. We appreciate all who came out to support us.  You may view photos of the event at:

Become a Wishmaker

You can grant a child a wish by participating in our Holiday Gift Drive. Each child in our care creates a list of items that they wish to receive. If you would like to participate, we will send you the name, age, and wishes of the child you choose to help. Any help you give will send a message of care and support to our young people. Contact Hazel Eguia at for more info or to participate.

A Happy Welcome Back

Welcome back to HHY Ms. Diane Johnson! Ms. Diane was a foster parent with Hearts and Homes pre-COVID, but took some time away during the pandemic to attend to her family and her own health. We are so pleased to announce that Ms. Diane has returned to Hearts and Homes, ready to foster another child and to continue her growth as a foster parent! We are lucky to have her back.

We Celebrate Success

One of the young mothers in our Independent Living Program struggled significantly with hygiene and daily independent living skills. She had a hard time keeping her apartment clean. Our staff provided hands-on training to help her learn the skills needed to effectively parent and provide for herself and her child. Recently she was successfully discharged from our program, and she and her child found a safe and stable housing situation that meets their needs.

 A 16 year old young man struggled all last year to attend school consistently. With the support of his foster parent, his clinical case manager, and other staff members, he has made huge strides in improving his attendance. This past school quarter, he not only attended almost all classes, but passed all of them.

Our Volunteers are Awesome!

It was great fun to have the volunteers from Aronson, LLC come out and spruce up our JumpStart Program. They painted many rooms and gave the kitchen a good cleaning. We greatly appreciate all of the help and support that we receive from Aronson! Many thanks to Clint Woofter for organizing the event.

Foster Parent of the Month

We are excited to announce Martha and George Benyella as the October foster parents of the month. The Benyella’s are exceptional foster parents who deeply care for the youth in their care. They are great advocates and provide a safe and loving home environment. They promote extracurricular activities, sports, and performing arts. They ensure that the youth have ample opportunities to grow and thrive. We can always count on them to provide respite care. Thank you, Martha and George for being a part of the HHY team. We appreciate you! 

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!