Each person introduces themselves and their role within the HEMI program
Review HEMI Mission (listed above)The HEMI program began as just an idea and has evolved into a program that now serves dozens of foster youth. The program began in an attempt to find ways to support foster youth who emancipate from foster care each year in order to prevent these youth from being included in National statistics that are incredibly daunting. After “aging out” of foster care:25% are incarcerated within two years 20% become homeless58% complete high school, compared to 87% of peers3% earn college degrees, compared to 28% of peers
Now, HEMI is a program celebrating 4 years of providing Hamilton County foster youth a long term academic mentoring relationship throughout their educational journey. In fact, this year we celebrated our first HEMI graduate from the University of Cincinnati: Mariah MaxwellThe HEMI Program recruits, trains, and supports mentors to establish positive, long-term relationships with foster care youth.HEMI mentors assist, encourage, and support student academic achievement through high school and help create a direct pathway to higher education.
Recognizing the urgent need to provide support and educational opportunities to foster children as they move from the foster care system to adulthood, a number of prominent local organizations have come together to lead the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative. Hamilton County Job and Family ServicesHamilton County Board of CommissionersUniversity of CincinnatiGreat Oaks Career CampusesCincinnati State Technical and Community CollegeThe involvement of each of these participants is testimony to the collective community interest in improving the lives of at-risk youth and the Greater Cincinnati community.The following organizations have stepped up to leadership roles in this initiative. As a partnership, we are able to find effective ways to support our students, leverage resources and plan ahead.
Studies indicate that the following components are effective practices of mentoring programs:Duration- defined by at least having 1 yearConsistency- which is defined by the frequency of contact and how often they will meet. Emotional connection- this is somewhat harder to measure. The emotional connection is about the bond that forms btwn the mentor and mentee, which is really considered to be the heart of the mentoring process. The presence of a strong emotional connection is associated with better outcomes. Program support for mentoring relationship- this is the role to facilitate and support the development of the mentoring relationship.Best practices include screening prospective mentors, training them, providing ongoing support and supervision and having expectations of the frequency and overall duration of the relationship. It is also critical to provide structured activities for mentors and mentees- which facilitates a stronger bond, but also helps them to achieve their set goals.If any of these are lacking, we risk successful outcomes for each student.
Break into small groups and work together to identify the common barriers for foster youth pursuing high education.Please Identify a group member to report back to the larger group.Time: 10 minutes of brainstorming and 10 minutes of reporting back to the larger group
Here are some common barriers that we find among the foster youth we serve as they pursue higher education:Foster youth often face challenging life circumstances while being moved in and out of homes during their lives. For many foster youth, pursuing their education beyond high school is often difficult to achieve due to many factors:HousingLack of stable, year-round housingFinancialLack of finances to fund education/lack of ability to stop working full-time in order to attend schoolMedical EducationalLack of preparationLack of knowledge about higher edLack of Family SupportLack of support about pursuing higher ed/its importanceChaotic family environmentsStruggles to Achieve Basic SurvivalEducational Awareness Lack of PreparationParentingMental HealthTransportationAbility to attend certain universities due to lack of reliable transportationEmancipation TransitionLoss of formalized supports during their emancipationThese barriers have huge implications for students’ retention in higher education (especially after they emancipate and lose many of the supports they had while in care)
Parenting Support GroupAction GroupsHousing Assistance ProgramJobs Readiness EventScholarships through FundraisingCelebration Dinner to award scholarships and celebrate the mentoring relationshipCreation of the HEMI Graduate Hall of FameYouth RetreatQuarterly EventsTeach skills and knowledgeMeant to bring mentors and mentees together on an ongoing basisMentor Trainings tailored to mentor needsParenting, employment, self-careMedia Presence to increase program visibilityCincinnati Enquirer articleArticle within UC’s mediaPartnershipsContinued commitments from partnersWorking to establish new partners in the community and new needs and gaps in services become apparentUse of MSW student interns and work-study studentsCreation of HEMI DocumentaryDatabaseGreat way to store the immense data of the programAllows us to track outcomes of the program over time
18-minute version of the HEMI documentary
2013 HEMI presentation
Going the Extra Mile in MentoringFoster Youth to Support EducationalSuccessAnnie Schellinger, HEMI Program CoordinatorAlyssa Purvis, HEMI Program SpecialistSarah Mangan, HCJFS Educational LiaisonMariah Maxwell, HEMI student
HEMI MissionThe Higher Education Mentoring Initiative(HEMI) provides Hamilton County youth a long-term mentoring relationship that begins in highschool and is focused on awareness of, andpreparation for, post-secondary education andtraining.
HEMI Defined• The HEMI Program recruits, trains, andsupports mentors to establish positive, long-term relationships with foster care youth.• HEMI mentors assist, encourage, and supportstudent academic achievement through highschool and help create a direct pathway tohigher education.
HEMI By The Numbers• 100% high school graduation rate• 83% enroll in post-secondary education• Serving 60 mentors & 60 mentees• Projected to add a new cohort of 15 studentsand 15 mentors each year
Best Practices of Mentoring FosterYouth• Studies indicate that the followingcomponents are effective practices ofmentoring programs 1:– Duration– Consistency– Emotional connection– Program support for mentoring relationships1 Spencer, R., Collins, M.E., Ward, R., Smashnaya, S. (2010). Mentoring for Young People Leaving Foster Care:Promise and Potential Pitfalls. Social Work, 55 (3), 225-234.
Brainstorm Together:Identify Barriers for Foster YouthPursuing Higher Education
Barriers for Foster Youth PursuingEducation• Foster youth often face challenging life circumstances whilebeing moved in and out of homes during their lives.• For many foster youth, pursuing their education beyondhigh school is often difficult to achieve due to many factors:• Housing• Financial• Medical• Educational• Lack of Family Support• Struggles to AchieveBasic Survival• EducationalAwareness• Lack of Preparation• Parenting• Mental Health• Transportation• EmancipationTransition
Innovative Practices for AddressingBarriers• Parenting Support Group• Action Groups– Housing Assistance Program– Jobs Readiness Event• Scholarships– Celebration Dinner• HEMI Graduate Hall of Fame• Youth Retreat• Quarterly Events• Mentor Trainings tailored to mentor needs• Media Presence to increase program visibility• Partnerships• Use of MSW student interns and work-study students• Creation of HEMI Documentary• Database
HEMI Documentary:Perspectives from Mentors and Mentees
Discussion Questions:• Are there some innovative practices that youcan enact in your current position to helpfoster youth overcome barriers as theypursue higher education?• What do you think is the most difficultbarrier for foster youth pursuing highereducation to overcome?• What is the most important factor in apositive, successful mentoring relationship?