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Mentoring Partnership for Foster Youth Commemorates More College Graduates This Spring


A UC-supported partnership for foster youth will mark milestones at Commencement ceremonies around Ohio.

Date: 4/23/2014 1:50:00 PM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823

UC ingot   More success stories will be celebrated this spring and summer from a Hamilton County partnership to pave successful futures for Hamilton County foster youth.
FreeDigitalPhotos.net/ Ian Kahn
FreeDigitalPhotos.net/ Ian Kahn

Two more students in the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative (HEMI) will achieve their bachelor’s degrees this spring, another will earn an associate’s degree and plans to transfer to the University of Cincinnati, and the first HEMI grad from last year will earn her master’s degree from UC this summer.

HEMI is an award-winning partnership represented by the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) outreach center, Partnership for Achieving School Success (PASS); Cincinnati State Technical and Community College; Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development; Hamilton County Job and Family Services; and the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners. The partnership creates programming and recruits and trains mentors to prepare Hamilton County foster youth for educational opportunities beyond high school, after they age out of the foster care system.

HEMI was created because both national and local figures indicate that college is often a distant dream for kids who age out of foster care. In fact, 2004 figures from the Pew Commission suggested that 20 percent of those children end up homeless and only 58 percent complete high school.

The partnership was launched in 2009, and its first success came at UC’s Commencement Ceremony in April 2013, when Mariah Maxwell earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH), and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). Maxwell will again march at UC Commencement in August, 2014, as she earns a master’s degree in criminal justice. Students in the HEMI program who are graduating from college this spring are:

Sandra JonesThe graduate of Hughes High School is graduating from The Ohio State University on May 4. She is earning a bachelor’s degree in social work. Sandra spent 13 years in Hamilton County Foster care. She chose to pursue her degree at The Ohio State University because she was awarded a full scholarship from the university. She was awarded the full scholarship through the Young Scholars Program under Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Antrece MorganThe graduate of Woodward High School studied a year-and-a-half at Wright State University before attending Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, where she is graduating on May 4. Antrece is earning an associate of arts degree and plans to transfer to UC in the fall. She also works in the Disabilities Services Office at Cincinnati State.

Dominique SpringsThe graduate of Aiken College and Career High School in College Hill is graduating on May 10 from the College of Mount St. Joseph with a bachelor’s in communication and new media studies. In addition to attending classes, Dominique works part-time at The Mount as the marketing and social media co-op. Her daily responsibilities include web writing, drafting press releases and writing academic stories. Before attending The Mount in 2010, Dominique was in foster care. She had been living on her own since the age of 16. She fully emancipated from Job and Family Services at the age of 18. Currently, Dominique is looking for employment after graduation.

Mariah Maxwell (Photo by Dottie Stover)
Mariah Maxwell (Photo by Dottie Stover)

And in summer:

Mariah MaxwellMaxwell will graduate with her master’s degree in criminal justice during UC’s Summer Commencement Ceremony on Aug. 9.  She earned her bachelor’s in psychology and a bachelor’s in criminal justice from UC last spring, thereby earning two bachelor’s degrees in three years and getting a jump on her master’s, so that she could graduate with her master’s this summer. She continues to be a work study student for the HEMI program at UC and also assists with the crisis line at Talbert House. Mariah says after her graduation in August, she wants to take a couple of years off from school before pursuing a PhD at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

HEMI currently has 52 students and 52 mentors in the program and plans to recruit 15 additional students, along with 15 additional mentors, next fall.

More background on HEMI and statistics for foster youth