Our History

young-faces-smiling-logoYoung Faces Smiling is a non-profit 501c3 organization established in 2005 that utilizes 'Reality Education' to incorporate practical applications into educational lessons for students. Rather than focusing on traditional teaching methods, Young Faces Smiling curriculum encompasses many subjects that include a pop culture element to motivate and attract students. These lessons focus on the 'Real History' of celebrities, entrepreneurs, and public figures who provide real-life examples and problems for the students. Young Faces Smiling ‘Reality Education’ goal is to motivate and inspire students in order to raise the academic performance, attendance, graduation rates, college enrollment and employment readiness for students.

Young Faces Smiling has made significant strides; dedicated to this goal since 2005. In the past decade, we have introduced over 3,000 NYC public school students to over 400 celebrities, entrepreneurs and public figures.

Our Mission

Young Faces Smiling is an innovative educational enrichment program that connects students to celebrities and their career experiences. 


Our Vision

Young Faces Smiling introduce students to the art of communication as an important tool to build good academic skills. These skills form a good foundation for furthering one’s education, which will enable success in their career, dreams and aspirations.

Young Faces Smiling utilize pop culture as a catalyst to effect positive academic change in all students with a focus on at-risk youth. Through an innovative, partially student-directed instant 'Reality Education', the creation of an adaptable enrichment program that lends itself to change, motivate and always-keeping pace with the cultural and academic needs of students. A multiplicity of methods and approaches will be utilized to reach these students.

“The most important ingredient in success is getting a good education and developing the right habits.  All of the students are at the time when they can do both.”

– Warren Buffett, CEO/Founder of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

How To Accomplish Our Vision

Exposure to career pathways provides interviews and job shadowing interactions with celebrities, entrepreneurs and public figures.

Improve communication skills through the use of technology, website, social media, & film.

Increase academic performance of students, specifically in research, math, reading comprehension, writing skills and more.


Celebrity, Entrepreneurs and Public Figures

“Thank you so much for your thoughtful letters. I always enjoy hearing from young people who are curious about my career and the path I chose to get here. I'm so pleased to learn that many of you watch the TODAY show! I've always said that i have the best job in television, but with that, it took hard work, determination and patience!" 

Matt Lauer, Co-Anchor of NBC TODAY

"I would never change a thing about earning a Doctorate in Psychology despite no longer practicing.  That’s because your education pays off no matter what field you choose to pursue.  Sometimes young people want things to happen right away, but it takes time to grow and develop as a person and as a professional – please remember that!  We produce over 1 million cupcakes a year at the East Side store alone!!!” 

Jennifer Appel, CEO/Founder of Buttercup Bake Shop

“Unbeknownst to you, the meeting was more than I had hoped for.  It gave me an opportunity to see through the eyes of your students just how much I’ve accomplished.” 

Aricka Westbrooks, CEO/Founder of Jive Turkey

“This is a much needed program that will use media outlets such as television, radio and the internet to reach students in ways that will help our fellow teachers reach them.” 

Anwar F. Robinson, CEO/Founder of Nawari Starz Music - American Idol TV Show, Season Four

“My advice to all of you is to think about your goals in life now and then start building a road map for how you want to achieve those goals.  I’d like to thank you for your inspiration that came in the form of your hand written letters.  You made my day easier by giving me some additional motivation and inspiration.” 

Elijah J. Shaw, CEO/Founder of Icon Services Corporation

“Dear Dr. Young/Ms. McClarty:  It was very flattering to hear that your class enjoyed the Fortune Magazine article.  Organizations such as Young Faces Smiling are lynchpin to the successful education of children.  Your efforts are admirable.” 

Maverick Carter, CEO &  Lebron James, CEO/Founder of LRMR: Innovative Marketing and Branding

“We are no different from any one of you, we simply had a vision and we decided to pursue our goals until we’ve achieved what we set out to accomplish.  Taking the time out to write these letters has actually inspired us and we can see your talents and potential for success.”

Gary Guidry & Je’Caryous Johnson, CEO/Founder of I’m Ready Productions Inc.

Young Faces Smiling Students

"Being able to meet celebrities has changed my outlook on education for many reasons. Young Face Smiling has changed my outlook on education because it shows me that there are thousands of ways for me to be successful and that I should not just think inside the box but to take advantage of my education as a way for me to think outside the box when it comes to my future." 

Carmen, Bread & Roses HS 
College Student at Siena College: Majoring in Social Work.

"I really appreciate all of your generosity and efforts to change our outlook on life.  After this program I realized that I can achieve my goals and accomplish my dreams. You have a huge heart Dr. Young.” 

Nicholas, Bread & Roses HS 
Graduated from SUNY Albany: Major – Business and Fashion Merchant. Work at Coach – Assistant Manager one of the youngest in the district.

“I really want to thank you for starting this program and also for saving a person’s life.” 

Jamilah, Bread & Roses HS *** Updated Note – Graduated from SUNY Delhi: Associate Degree in Culinary Arts. Working at Market Research Firm (Universal Survey). Future Endeavor: Master’s Degree.

“I thought Ms. McClarty was making us write letters just for fun or to rub the millionaires’ success on us. I was amazed at how these famous hard-working people took time out to see us. Their success inspired me. Young Faces Smiling would go along the best of the best.” 

Amanda, Bronx Prep HS 
Attended CUNY Bronx Community College. Working at Forever 21 Assistant Manager. Worked at: U.S. Census Bureau.

"The experience with Ms. McClarty was exceptional because Young Faces Smiling opened our minds in ways we can deal with the reality of the real world once high school was over. Her learning games were enjoyable and informative. She was very engaging with the students, which created a fun atmosphere; this made everyone comfortable to learn in her class. We were the first students in her program, so most of the courses were still in the experimental stage, but she was very organized and professional. For me the mention of meeting celebrities made me excited to continue the program."

Benjamin, Bronx Prep HS 
Graduated from Berkeley College: B.A. Business Management and Minor in Marketing. Working at Better Business Bureau. Volunteering at American Red Cross.

Young Faces Smiling, it can change your outlook by showing you the value of education and showing you that without education you can't get far. Meeting celebrities showed me how important education is and it showed me that I needed to build a career. I need to pay more attention in school. Some celebrities even showed me that education isn't for everyone but you still need it to advance in life."

Donte, DeWitt Clinton HS 
Graduated from DeWitt Clinton H.S. June 2014. College student at SUNY Broome College: Major – Journalism. Future Endeavor: Writing his 1st book about his Young Faces Smiling experiences.

"School was routine; it was not a thing really to look forward to. I felt forced to learn about subjects that I had no interest in. Young Faces Smiling immediately lifted my interests and gave me something to look forward to each week."

Frederick, Bread & Roses HS 
Graduated from Monroe College: B.A. Business Management. Currently pursuing Masters Degree – University of Louisville: Human Resources and Development. Working at Bluegrass Cellular. A business partner with Cameo.

"I thought I had good relationships with teachers. I liked going to class because it was easy for me. Studying from the textbook is easy. Writing is easy; you are only spitting back formulas or something you've memorized to pass the class. Young Faces Smiling was like a life course, a goal shaping exercise. It was more than the regular curriculum, it taught us some very essential but possibly the most over looked skills. Those skills were simply to take an interest in ourselves, get to know what we like and do not like, what we want out of life and the ways we can make our "silliest" and "unrealistic" dreams our realities." 

Quinelle, My 1999 5th grade student 
Graduated from University at Buffalo: B.A. Psychology. Working at Memorial
Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a research study assistant. Currently: Master’s Degree at Hofstra University – Major – Marriage and family therapy.

School Administrators

“Young Faces Smiling is extremely important to the students because it affords our students the opportunity to participate and interact with celebrities, public figures and develop professional leadership"

Mr. Sean L. Davenport Principal, Thurgood Marshall Academy HS

"During the course of this past year, I have observed drastic improvement in the students’ attitudes and behavior as they gathered to experience Ms. McClarty’s class. The excitement is compounded because she makes use of celebrity entrepreneurs (who she invites to attend her class) this then, encourages and motivates each student to ‘Dream their Dreams’.” 

Mr. Abdurrahim Ali
Assistant Principal, Bread & Roses HS

“Young Faces Smiling was an unforgettable experience for students at our school.  Students were able to see the world and their educational experiences through the eyes of individuals who are involved in the community sector.  When individuals who have “real world” jobs come teach our students they are able to understand the value of their education. Ms. McClarty’s Reality Classroom Experience was amazing!  In all my years teaching I have never been exposed to such a curriculum.”

Ms. Hinson
Assistant Principal, Bronx Preparatory HS

"I am pleased to say that Young Faces Smiling went above and beyond my expectations. During their regularly scheduled class time, not only were my students constantly engages in problem solving and researching issues, topics, and public figures relevant to them, they were afforded multiple opportunities to interact with these public figures." 

Ms. Sabrina Cabello-Murray
Program Coordinator, Inwood House JHS

"I think Young Faces Smiling is an excellent opportunity for students to develop transferable skills that will make them marketable in a global economy. Students learn the power of networking and learning how to learn from others from both positive and negative experiences."

– Melissa Cisco, Lawyer/Teacher, Transit Tech HS

"Young Faces Smiling is the epitome of what students need: it infuses education and entertainment. A wonderful way to teach real life lessons while exploring many aspects of music, media and television.

-Tammi Butler, English Teacher/Adjunct Professor, Validus Preparatory HS  

Want to support Young Faces Smiling?

Charitable contributions in any amount are always appreciated. By making a monetary donation, you are investing in our youth. Send us your donation today and get your name on our Supporters list!