Higher Education Mentoring Initiative Gets Rolling

We have scheduled the first training sessions for our Higher Education Mentoring Initiative (HEMI). Those who are interested in becoming mentors to our high school-age foster youth can sign up for training on Aug. 29 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Sept. 8 or Sept 10 (both 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)

Also, this article by Commissioner Greg Hartmann, who led the launch of HEMI, appeared on The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Web site today:

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20090807/EDIT02/908070349/

I am excited. This will mean a lot for our young people. It is nice to get the ball rolling. I urge anyone who is at all interested to contact Annie Dick at 513-556-4368 or annie.dick@uc.edu.

For more about HEMI…

HEMI seeks to reduce delinquency and help prepare foster children for post-secondary education. More than that, it seeks to provide hope.

The initiative, a partnership between Hamilton County and the University of Cincinnatis Partner for Achieving Academic Success (PASS) in the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services, will recruit, train and support mentors to establish long-term, positive relationships with about 25 Hamilton County foster youth each year. The mentors will assist, encourage and support academic achievement in high school, as well as post-secondary educational institutions. The mentoring relationship will be formal, with results tracked and measured.

UC will provide additional support through Scholl of Social Work students and an on-campus liaison to foster children.

The initiative will also seek a pool of available funds to help support the academic and life needs of foster children as they progress through the higher education experience. Private businesses will be asked to contribute both mentoring and financial support.

Hamilton County and UC will work together to create a support system to assist foster children in achieving academic success through high school and college. That plan includes:

Hamilton Countys Job and Family Services Department will identify approximately 50 foster youth per year who are strong candidates for higher education success and enroll them in the HEMI project. The agency will also provide support workers to assist as they progress through the program.

University of Cincinnati School of Social Work students will perform field studies at Job and Family Services and work with foster youth throughout their high school year.

University of Cincinnati PASS will establish a mentor coordinator position to train and support mentors. The mentor coordinator also will serve as an on-campus liaison and be responsible for identifying financial aid and scholarships available to foster youth, as well as advocating for legislative action that would assist the population.

Hamilton County and University of Cincinnati will utilize existing web-based data applications to track the short-term and long-term outcomes.

The Foster Child Enrichment Council will serve as fiscal agent to collect, track and disperse donations for computers, books, testing fees and other living expenses associated with the successful completion of high school and entry into higher education.

Mentors: Whats Required

Mentors will commit to a long-term mentoring relationship with minimum of two hours per week of personal interaction with their mentee. Theyll also be expected to be available for additional contact via telephone, e-mail, texting, etc. And, once a month, they will attend a monthly HEMI social activity. Mentors will be required to keep a contact log.

To prepare the mentors, a one-time six hour training will be devised, along with a three-hour quarterly training. Topics would include:

Understanding the mentee population
What research says about mentoring
Boundaries
Communication technology (how to text)
E-mentoring
Focused mentor sessions with identified objectives
Todays high school experience and expectations
Senior Year
College Access
ACT practice tips

All mentors will undergo complete background checks to ensure the safety of mentees.

by Moira Weir

Filed Under: Communication

Tagged: college, foster care, higher education, mentoring, youth