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HEMI Success Stories: 2019 Year in Review

This was an amazing year for the record books! Each month, HEMI was on the move, facilitating and hosting programs, supporting our student’s successes and linking with new and returning mentors with resources to enhance their relationship with their mentee. Take a look at some of the major accomplishments that made 2019, a year to remember!


  • HEMI Kicked off the year at Breakout Games and Buca di Beppo
  • HEMI celebrated Mentors during Mentor Appreciation Month
  • HEMI welcomed back five student workers


  • HEMI hosted a successful Barbershop and Galentine’s Party
  • Dan Hargraves facilitated a focus group with HEMI’s mentors.
  • Montez Sorrell’s emcee’d the “I Am Me Youth Symposium”
  • HEMI attended the “My Baby. My Rights. My Parent’s Choice” @ The United Way of Greater Cincinnati
  • HEMI Campus Tour: Cincinnati State
  • YAB: Make Me Whole Mind, Body, & Soul


  • HEMI collaborated with the National Foster Parent Association Forum & hosted a training about supporting foster families and foster youth
  • HEMI Campus Tour @ Wright State University
  • HEMI hosted the Health & Wellness Fair at the UC Recreational Center


  • HEMI Mentees participated in the Fostering Pathways to Success Conference in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Spring HEMI Training: New Mentor Onboarding via Montez Sorrels, Sarah Lawson and Denise Hewitt


  • HEMI celebrated its 10th Birthday at the Annual Run for the Roses Fundraiser on May 4, 2019.
    • HEMI has awarded over $500,000 in student scholarships
    • 2019 Honorees, Kara and Michael Graham & Mark Romito, AT&T Corporate Partner
    • Montez Sorrells served as the Emcee
  • HEMI Raised $70,000 at the Run for the Roses, 10th Birthday Celebration
  • Eric Sterling joined the Hamilton County’s Fatherhood Collaborative
  • Montez Sorrells served as the keynote speaker at Virtual High School’s graduation


  • Celebration of Dreams honored 40 HEMI Mentees/High School Graduates
  • YAB hosted the annual Moving Forward Ceremony on the B&B Riverboat
  • HEMI Campus Tours @ Northern Kentucky University and Sinclair Community College
  • HEMI & YAB End of the Year Celebration @ Kings Island
  • Summer HEMI Training: New Mentor Onboarding via Montez Sorrels, Sarah Lawson and Denise Hewitt
  • Keith Shoemaker participated in a Diversity and Inclusion 3-Day training @ UC’s  Faculty Enrichment Center
  • HEMI Steering Committee: Cincinnati Scholar House Presentation by Cincinnati Union Bethel


  • Courtney Kirby and HEMI student workers/mentees created HEMI Hangouts – social activities focused on building rapport between mentors and mentees to strengthen community
  • HEMI Hangout: Plant Appreciation at Krohn’s Conservatory
  • HEMI Meet Up: ETV (Education Training Voucher)
  • YAB: Summer Fest @ Parky’s Farm for foster youth living in group homes (Service-Learning Project)
  • YAB: Trip to Columbus for State-wide conference with Ohio YAB;  youth visited COSI & enjoyed dinner
  • Campus Tour: Wright State
  • Summer HEMI Training: New Mentor Onboarding via Montez Sorrels, Sarah Lawson and Denise Hewitt


  • After ten years of service, Rayma Waters retired as the HEMI Director
  • YAB Launched a Pantry for Emergency Needs – please continue to donate personal hygiene products and non-perishable insta-meals and snacks; contact for more information
  • HEMI and YAB hosted the Back 2 School Bash and provide foster youth with a book-bag and school supplies.
  • HEMI Hangout: Canoeing @ Scenic Riverview Excursions in Loveland, Ohio
  • New – HEMI Special Project: Eric Stirling launched the Young Male Formal Clothing Closet – Contact to donate



  • Fall HEMI Training: New Mentor Onboarding via Montez Sorrels, Sarah Lawson and Denise Hewitt
  • Kimberly Rhyan presented a workshop about resilience @ the California College Pathways Blueprint Conference
  • Courtney Kirby got married!
  • YAB: Leadership Training
  • HEMI Meet Up: FAFSA Completion by Kimberly Rhyan


  • HEMI hosted a successful HEMI Mentor Retreat/Painting Night @ Peoples Church
  • HEMI gave away free Zoolight passes to HEMI Mentors and Mentees
  • HEMI Hangout: Bowling for Mentor, Mentees & Families
  • Fall HEMI Training: New Mentor Onboarding via Montez Sorrels, Sarah Lawson and Denise Hewitt
  • YAB: Leadership Training
  • Southwest Ohio Thanksgiving Dinner
  • New – HEMI Special Project: Eric Stirling coordinated care packages for out-of-state post-secondary students (California, Tennessee, Louisiana, New York & Hawaii); if you want to support this project, please contact


  • YAB: Holiday Party @ Peoples Church
  • HEMI celebrated all of our Scholars & awarded 49 Scholarship Recipients at the Annual Scholars Dinner
    • Monte Sorrells served as the emcee for the 3rd year in a row!
    • Dean Larry Johnson was honored for his continued support and commitment to HEMI
  • HEMI Celebrated this year’s post-secondary graduates, Justiynn Stones, Ohio Media School; Tanisha Harris, Cincinnati State; and  Domonique Springs, Mount Saint Joseph University

Don’t Forget:

Make a referral:

Do you know a potential mentor?

Please refer them to Denise Hewitt to learn more about HEMI Mentoring.

Get involved:

HEMI Meet Up/Hangout: Thursday, January 16

 5:30- 8:00 p.m.

Houdini Room & Montgomery Inn

R.S.V.P. with a Program Specialist

Save the Date:

Run for the Roses HEMI Fundraiser

Saturday, May 2


It’s still not too late to give in honor of our 10th Anniversary.

Help HEMI enter 2020 with your support!

Get connected:

‘Friend’ us on Facebook:

Hemi Mentors

Thank you!

The HEMI team extends a special thanks to the many Friends of HEMI

who have contributed through the years.

We could not do this important work without you!

Strengthening Our Mentoring Community

HEMI hosted a Successful Mentor Retreat in November!

Last month, Mentors gathered for a special “Reset & Recharge Retreat” at People’s Church with all of the HEMI Staff. This year’s retreat was structured a bit differently because mentors were invited to attend the retreat without their mentees. HEMI is re-energized and focused on matching 100% of our mentees with mentors in 2019/2020. As we fulfill our mission, we seek to support (and recruit) mentors by providing resources to enhance their relationship with their mentees.

Sidenote: HEMI Meet Ups and HEMI Hangouts are scheduled monthly, however, during November, mentors attend a retreat & during December, we celebrate our mentees successes at the the Annual Scholarship Dinner.

This past November, HEMI Mentors painted the iconic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, a National Historic Landmark built in 1867.

HEMI Mentors learned step-by-step, how to create a beautiful painting from a blank canvas. Everyone in attendance was guided through a process that allowed creativity to be explored while having a lot of fun. Many great conversations and new connections were made throughout the evening.

If we step back and look at the “bigger picture,” there are few lessons to be learned:

Lesson #1 – Every mentoring relationship doesn’t start with a blank canvas. Similarly to the different layers in a painting, each mentor and mentee come to the relationship with different backgrounds and experiences. In the beginning stages, no one is ever 100% completely sure of how everything will come together. What is most important, is not the final product, but the effort to both earnestly grow while strengthening a promising future.

Lesson #2 – A bridge is a unique metaphor for the mentoring relationship. Often, HEMI mentors guide mentees from one big decision to another, or help students graduate from high school and/or college. These processes take many steps from beginning to end. HEMI mentors assist their mentees to take courageous steps to get from point A to point B. Sometime there are successes along the journey, but there are also lessons to be learned from failure. No matter what, lessons are learned, HEMI Mentors seek to support every mentee holistically – including educational and vocational pursuits but also including well-being goals.

In closing, HEMI thanks and celebrates our Mentors for going above and beyond to create brave spaces for HEMI’s mentees to grow and thrive. Thank you for making a difference and taking the time to professionally develop yourselves as mentors to best support your mentees.

Enjoy the rest of the year together! We will see you on January 16th for the Next HEMI Meet Up/Hangout at Houdini’s Room Escape & Hamilton Inn. Please contact your Program Specialist to R.S.V.P. !

*Mentors, if you haven’t picked up free Zoolight tickets, please contact

If you would like to learn more about becoming a HEMI mentor, please contact

If you have a success story you would like to share with HEMI, please email

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