It is our absolute purpose and passion to support Baltimore’s Youth by providing resources and services that Motivate, Inspire and Empower them to BMORE. Our nonprofit organization offers free services for Youth and young adults including mentoring, tutoring, assistance with the college application process, resume building, assistance with finding employment and internships, learning events, networking opportunities and so much more. Uplifting our Youth powered by HeartSmiles was founded on the idea that rebuilding Baltimore starts with our Youth. We believe that a passionate yet caring and thoughtful approach to solving issues that plague low income communities will play a vital role in mending the hearts of our broken youth and creating the next generation of productive citizens and youth advocates.
our board members
Founder and President of HeartSmiles, LLC and Uplifting Our Youth, INC
Joni was raised in the now abandoned west side building, 2429 Reisterstown Rd. with her two younger siblings Arthur and Jessica. Their single parent home was the typical scenario of most poverty stricken families. Joni was inspired by the 2015 Freddie Gray riots to start a nonprofit that focuses on motivating, inspiring and empowering Baltimore’s Youth to reach for success and to dream big regardless of their circumstance. Joni is hopeful that through her efforts and those of other ordinary citizens, we will reclaim our city and put our young people on a path for long term success.
Medical Director and Board Member
Sherry is a Baltimore native; United States Army Veteran and board certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. In addition to serving our youth through various HeartSmiles programs Sherry also supports initiatives and organizations that provide services for veterans and Baltimore’s homeless citizens.
Financial Director and Board Member
Jessica is a Baltimore native and passionate youth advocate. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology with a concentration on Criminal Justice from Townson University and her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Law Enforcement from the University of Baltimore. In addition to supporting HeartSmiles Youth programs Jessica also volunteers her time teaching, to help young adults earn their GED.
Roxann Wheeler is a literacy leader and advocate for educational equity and social justice. She holds a Maryland Advanced Professional Teaching Certificate in the areas of Reading K-12 and English 7-12. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Chatham College and a master’s degree in Reading Education from Towson University. She has been teaching for Baltimore County Public Schools since 2003, and has served in various educational leadership positions, such as English Department Chairperson. She firmly believes in using literacy as a way of helping young people take pride in their own heritage and themselves, reverse the damaging effects of negative influences, and overcome adverse conditions.
Marketing Director and Board Member
Sherika is a Baltimore native and passionate youth advocate. She volunteers her time tutoring and mentoring children in need of supplemental academic assistance.
Facilities Director and Board Member
Arthur is a certified plumbing contractor and passionate youth advocate. In addition to supporting various HeartSmiles programs Arthur is also a volunteer soccer and football coach for boys and girls youth teams. He is an active member of his church and respected community role model.