Shantell Lenise Roberts
Founder and Executive Director
Touching Young Lives, Inc.
In 2011, Shantell Roberts lost her one-year-old daughter to sudden infant death syndrome. Her tragic loss became the reason she founded Touching Young Lives, Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the health and well-being of infants and children.
She worked tirelessly to provide information and resources to families with young children, becoming an infant safe sleep coordinator. In 2016 she developed the Portable Alternative Crib, a rectangular box that provides a certified, comfortable and safe sleeping space for babies. That same year, she won a $25,000 award from the John Hopkins Social Innovation Lab to accelerate her mission of lowering the occurrence of sudden infant death syndrome across Maryland.
For each crib purchased from the organization, one is donated to a family in need. To date, more than 4,500 families have been provided a Portable Alternative Crib to assist their infants.
“I am just one finger of a mighty fist pushing families into a position where they can become the best possible versions of themselves. As a bereaved mother, this work reminds me that my daughter’s death was not in vain and that her legacy lives,” says Roberts.