Higher Education Mentoring Initiative Awards $23,000 in Academic Scholarships to Foster Youth

Eleven foster youth to receive $23,000 in academic scholarships to pursue post-secondary education through mentoring initiative.

The Higher Education Mentoring Initiative (HEMI), an initiative to encourage foster youth to pursue post-secondary education through mentoring, announced eleven recipients to receive $23,000 in academic scholarships on Thursday, December 12, 2013. The high school and enrolled college students are participants in the HEMI program and are foster youth in Hamilton County’s care.

“These scholarships are another tool to help further HEMI’s mission of encouraging and supporting foster youth in their pursuit of a college degree or job training,” said Commissioner Greg Hartmann, a founding partner of HEMI. “Nationally, only 2% of foster youth complete a Bachelor’s degree in four years, but HEMI is working to affect positive change as these students continue on the path to adulthood.”

Five high school seniors and six students currently enrolled in post-secondary institutions received scholarships at the December dinner. Funding for the scholarships was raised privately by Commissioner Hartmann through the annual HEMI “Run for the Roses” Kentucky Derby fundraiser, as well as a $10,000 grant by AT&T.

“By pairing foster youth with mentors, HEMI is improving the safety net available to these students after they turn 18 and emancipate from the County’s care,” said Moira Weir, Director of Hamilton County Job and Family Services and another founding partner of HEMI. “The community support we’ve received from organizations like AT&T helps HEMI continue to produce successful results.”

HEMI currently serves 51 students who are matched with 51 long-term academic mentors. Seventeen HEMI students are in high school and 22 are enrolled in higher education. HEMI students have a 100% high school graduation rate and five students in HEMI’s first cohort of students will graduate college in 2014.


HEMI is a program that began in 2009 that provides Hamilton County’s youth a long term-academic mentoring relationship that begins in high school and continues throughout the duration of post-secondary education. The goal of the program is to increase the number of Hamilton County foster youth who apply to and pursue higher education beyond high school while emancipating from the foster care system.

HEMI is a partnership between Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners, Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services, the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development.