Follow the Data Podcast: Shaping the Future of Youth in Baltimore, MD
Navigating a pandemic, our country’s reckoning with racial injustice, and a divisive presidential election is difficult – but it can be especially difficult for teenagers, whose school communities and peer support systems have been turned upside down this year. In fact, a CDC study conducted earlier this summer suggests that younger adults have experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes as a result of the pandemic.
Engaging teenagers during tumultuous times is nothing new to Joni Holifield. She created HeartSmiles in 2015, when riots broke out in her native Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray. Today, the program provides enrichment and leadership development opportunities for youth. Joni also runs the Youth Advisory Board, which provides guidance to the Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, HeartSmiles convened youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in East Baltimore for personal development programming, leadership training, and college and career mentorship in collaboration with the school’s Center for Adolescent Health. HeartSmiles aims to inspire youth to be leaders in their communities and to demonstrate leadership in real time through activities that build character.
Since the pandemic hit, HeartSmiles has shifted its programming online – and has started connecting with youth beyond Baltimore, too.
Joni and David Carberry, the CEO of Enradius, a Baltimore-based digital advertising company and an alum of the Bloomberg Baltimore-Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, join this episode of the podcast. David participated in HeartSmiles’ partnership program, which is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and connects students with mentors and work opportunities at the Bloomberg Baltimore-Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, and mentored Kamri Moses – a student and entrepreneur in her own right.
Joni, David and Kamri sit down to discuss how HeartSmiles has created a digital space for youth to connect during the pandemic, how building community relationships has changed during the coronavirus crisis, and why it’s important for businesses to collaborate with youth and community-based programs as an investment in the future.
To learn more about Heartsmiles’ work, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can follow along with Kam’s smoothie business on Instagram here.
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More episodes from our coronavirus series include:
- The Politics of Food
- Moving America Beyond Coal
- How Buenos Aires, Argentina, is Responding to COVID-19
- Peer-to-Peer College Advising – Does It Work?
- A Summer Unlike Any Other
- Virtual College Advising – Does It Work?
- Is it Safe to Reopen Schools?
- Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions, Answered
- How Cities Are Supporting Arts & Culture During COVID-19
- Systemic Racism as a Public Health Issue
- Training an Army of Contact Tracers
- The Pandemic’s Effect on Gun Violence
- The Data Behind the Pandemic
- Food First Responders
- How Helsinki, Finland Is Responding to COVID-19
- Lights, Camera…Action?
- How Freetown, Sierra Leone Is Responding to COVID-19
- The Cost of Recovery for Our Cities, Part 2
- The Cost of Recovery for Our Cities, Part 1
- A Promising Treatment for COVID-19
- Slowing the Spread of COVID-19 in Africa
- The Intersection of COVID-19 and Transportation
- Behind the Scenes of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Tracking Map
- Responding to a Pandemic Crisis
- How to Help Nonprofits Hit Hard by COVID-19
- “World War C” – Us Against the Microbe