Mentors Needed for Foster Children

Our Higher Education Mentoring Initiative is in need of mentors. If you are someone interested in helping a youth in need, this is a perfect program for you. You will spend time helping a foster child graduate high school and go on to some type of post-high school success. You will also likely make a life-long friend.

We started this program because of a need. We saw our foster children struggling to graduate high school and move on to successful higher learning opportunities. Nationally, only 3 percent of foster children earn college degrees. Our numbers were similar. They were aging out with nowhere to go. They have much higher rates of homelessness, incarceration and other social problems than non-foster children.

Rarely, if ever, is a conversation even had with these children that higher education is an option. Furthermore, if higher education is discussed with them, it often seems daunting or unattainable due to the unawareness of financial resources and assistance available to them.

 The purpose of this community partnership is to provide foster youth with a long-term mentoring relationship that begins in high school and is focused on the awareness of, and preparation for, post-secondary education and training.

The program goal is to reduce the number of foster youth who drop out of high school; increase the number who apply to and pursue higher education; and set foster youth on a path to successful careers and sustainable income.

With the great partnership we have with the University of Cincinnati’s Partnership for Achieving School Success (PASS), Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development and the Hamilton County Board of Commission, this has turned into a wonderful program. Since its start, 100 percent of the students have graduated high school! We served 37 students last year and most are pursuing higher education at schools such as UC, Cincinnati State, Great Oaks, the College of Mt. Saint Joseph and The Ohio State University

There is some commitment to being a mentor. You’ll commit to a six-hour training course and spending two hours a week with your mentee through high school graduation and on through their pursuit of post-secondary education.

To be considered for the mentor program, participants must fill out an application, undergo a background check and complete an interview process. This includes providing a copy of a valid drivers’ license and proof of insurance.

To obtain an application and for more information, contact Annie Schellinger, UC HEMI Program Coordinator, at 513-556-4368, or e-mail annie.schellinger@uc.edu 

The true success of this program is with the relationships. We have had some tremendous mentor/mentee relationships. In fact, the relationship often blossoms into a true friendship. That makes this program better than we could have ever expected, because these children end up with life-long mentors!

by Moira Weir

Filed Under: Communication

Tagged: child abuse, cincinnati state university, foster children, great oaks, hamilton county department of job and family services, HEMI, higher education mentoring initiative, moira weir, university of cincinnati