UStory: Heart and Homes for Youth
  by:  |  Dec 21, 2018
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Last updated on January 8th, 2019 at 06:07 pm

Heart and Homes for Youth is a nonprofit organization that helps children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and other unfortunate issues. Since opening its doors, it has served than 41,000 young individuals across the state of Maryland.

I’ve spoken with Valerie Snogren, chief of staff of Heart and Homes for Youth. She graciously shares with us the organization’s story and accomplishments. More importantly, she tells us what we can do to help.

Heart and Homes for Youth helps victims of abuse, neglect, and other issues

A Closer Look

In 1964, several Montgomery County judges saw a need for a group home. There, troubled young men can live under the supervision of experienced personnel in a nurturing space.

The children were provided with education, vocational training, and work experience as opposed to detention or being forced back into an unsafe home environment.

Today, the Heart and Homes for Youth has expanded to six group homes spread across Maryland. The now run different programs:

  • Family Ties Therapeutic Foster Care Program – for males and females who need a loving home.
  • Damamli Mother-Baby Foster Care Program – provides housing for pregnant or young mothers.
  • Damamli Independent Living Program – helps teen moms become independent by placing them in furnished apartments that are monitored by the organization.

2018 Charity Golf Tournament

Serious Issues

Cases of abuse and neglect are still common among Maryland’s youth. But Valerie tells us that Heart and Homes for Youth is fighting the good fight.

“We work with young people who have unfortunately experienced extensive and compounded trauma and it continues to be a significant issue with the population we serve.”

Mental health issues are also just as prominent. Without some of the services their team provides, these kids might take a turn for the worse.

And to make matters worse, all these issues can have an impact on just about anyone.

“Abuse, trauma, and mental health do not discriminate. It happens often and everywhere including the community in which you live.”

Abuse, trauma, and mental health do not discriminate. Share on X

If you’re not careful, you may even end up being part of the problem.

“Our youth face enormous barriers as a result of what they have been through. So before you label a kid as ‘lazy’ or ‘bad’, stop and think if perhaps there are life situations that may be contributing to how they live [day-to-day].”

The effects of abuse can last generations. Heart and Homes for Youth is trying to put an end to the cycle with the help of everyone in the community.

“For many of our kids, the decisions they have made have been based on the need to survive. Every child deserves a second chance and you could be the one person that can make a significant difference in a child’s life just by listening and caring!”

Every child deserves a second chance. Share on X

You too can help

How It Works

Heart and Homes for Youth springs into action when Juvenile Services or Social Services get in touch with them about possibly taking in a kid. All youth are welcomed into a loving and therapeutic environment. They are provided with trauma-informed care.

The team then develops a treatment plan that caters to each individual kid. They make it a point to have each plan capture the goals and dream of every youth they help.

“We assist with enrollment in the appropriate educational setting, help them learn basic daily living skills, expose them to various recreational opportunities, and most importantly, show them unconditional support and guidance.”

Once the kid reaches his or her goals, they are discharged from the organization’s care. Through Heart and Homes for Youth, these kids will at least have a shot to properly heal from their past traumas.

How Can You Help

As Valerie points out, there are plenty of ways to be part of the solution. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Become a foster parent
  • Mentor or tutor a child
  • Donate needed supplies
  • Provide financial contributions
  • Attend fundraising events
  • Help with home improvement projects
  • Share your talents
  • Spread the word

BB&T Picnic

Heart and Homes for Youth appreciates anyone who could contribute in a meaningful way. Thanks to all those who got involved in the project, 2018 saw kids graduating from high school and going off to college. There are even high school football players and four kids working as lifeguards for the summer.

“Success looks differently for each youth but there is not a day that goes by that we don’t see some progress, no matter how big or small… We work diligently to make sure the kids feel the glory of their successes!”

The UPrinting Postcard and Brochure Experience

Heart and Homes for Youth printed postcards and brochures to promote some of their events.

“UPrinting has provided us with an affordable way to share our two main fundraising events – our Annual Charity Golf Tournament and our Annual Charity Gala.”

The beautiful printing helped the group convey the right message and tone for their organization.

Print your own postcards and brochures at UPrinting

“I love working with UPrinting! Many times, actually almost every time, you have changed my inadequate downloaded files to make them print beautifully. Your Live Chat help is always available to answer my questions, and as a nonprofit organization that has to watch our budget, your prices are very affordable.”

I love working with UPrinting… your prices are very affordable. Share on X

If you want to learn more about Heart and Homes for Youth, you can visit their website or follow them on social media:

Facebook – @HeartsAndHomesForYouth
Twitter – @heartsandhomes4
LinkedIn – Hearts & Homes for Youth
YouTube – heartandhomes50

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