Beating the Odds

One of our HEMI Mentees, Kenny, recently graduated from Taft High School. In his interview he talks about some of the struggles he faced, how he overcame them, and his advice to others in similar situations. Kenny first got involved with HEMI about four years ago and shares a little bit about his academic path, and personal journey as a young man coming of age, and as a HEMI Mentee. Nationally, only about half of youth raised in foster care finish high school, and less than 3% graduate from a 4-year college. Read below to learn Kenny’s story of beating the odds!

What were some of the challenges you faced in high school?

“I was out of school for a long time, so when I finally came back, I started in 10th grade and failed almost everything. I didn’t have a support system, and had to take a lot of classes that I shouldn’t have been in. I moved around from foster home to foster home and no one really gave me a chance or believed in me; everyone doubted me. So it’s wasn’t just school, but my life was really hard too.”

How did you overcome these challenges and other obstacles?

“Really, it was by talking to my [HEMI] Mentor, Don. For a long time, I didn’t have anyone else to come to, to talk about things, you know? When you guys from HEMI first met with me at school to talk about HEMI, I wasn’t sure… I thought it was just another program that wouldn’t really do much for me. But Don has become the most important person in my life! Don always gives me the best advice. I ran away from one of my placements and Don and HEMI connected me to Ms. Cardwell. [Ming Cardwell runs a group home for young men.] She became like a mother to me, I even just wrote her a note for Mother’s Day. With her help, and Don by my side, things got so much better. So those connections HEMI has were so important to me. At first I wasn’t sure things with Don would even work out, but now I can’t imagine not having him in my life.”

What advice would you give to other HEMI mentees struggling to finish high school?

“They are always going to doubt that people like me can actually make it, but use that doubt to be determined to succeed. It can be hard to accept help, but you need a support team to get through life.”

How did your HEMI Mentor help you?

“HEMI helped me throughout my life; not just in school, but life in general, you know, growing up. Don taught me how to drive, how to invest and save. He taught me how to do math, taught me the importance of self-love, and he is a father figure in my life. I honestly don’t know where I would be today without Don in my life.”

What do you like most about working with your HEMI Mentor?

“Don is like always right. I made some stupid choices in my past, but he helped me get back on track. Life really started getting easier once I started listening to him and taking his advice on things. Don gives the best advice!”

What advice would you give to others about getting involved with HEMI?

“You have nothing to lose, so give it a shot! You can’t really lose anything, but you can gain everything!”

What are some of your plans for the future?

“A lot of people are congratulating on finishing, but honestly I think this is just the start of everything for me. There are a lot of things I want to study in college, I’m really good at business so something in IT, Communications, or Marketing would be cool. I’m going to be a millionaire one day and want to be able to help kids who are in similar situations like when I was growing up.”

Are there any final thoughts you would like to share?

“Getting involved with HEMI was the best! Connections are key in life and HEMI will be there for you when things are really hard or if you fail at something, but they are also there to keep you motivated and make sure you succeed. They won’t just give up on you, and everyone deserves to have someone like that in their life. I’m really grateful for Don and all of you guys at HEMI.”

Interview conducted by HEMI Program Specialist, Keith Schomaker, in May 2020.

Blooming: A Beautiful Process of Becoming

Mentee and scholar, MeKaisha Jones-Hatcher is a Junior at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). She is pursuing a dual major; she is studying Special Education & Middle Grades Education and completing a Spanish minor. She aspires fulfill her destiny as an educator and social justice advocate. Her HEMI mentor is Suzanne Sartarelli and they have been matched since 2018. MeKaisha was interviewed this month and shares her journey as a student, mother, intern, editorial board member, author and mentee!

MeKaisha, HEMI is so proud of you! Congrats on all of your accomplishments! We can’t wait to see you graduate with your degree!

  • What are you interning?

I am also an intern for the nonprofit, Esperanza Latino Center, the internship applies to my Spanish minor.

  • What made you interested in education?

I love youth. I would like to be a youth advocate and help with social change. I am also an inclusive and open minded person. I was greatly influenced by my mother who assisted people with special needs for many years.

  • What were the biggest impacting steps or processes you’ve experienced throughout your education journey? As well as your life journey?

I started my education journey as a non-traditional student (because I am a mother) and I was also homeschooled for most of my life. I had to adjust very quickly to the new college surroundings as well as being a nursing mother (my first semester of college). My first semester, I managed to end with 3 A’s and B in my classes!

  • How does being a mother impact your educational journey? Work journey? Life overall? (Maybe some helpful tips for other determined mamas out there)

Being a mother has 100% positively impacted my educational and overall life journey. I am an effective worker, organized, and I strive to maintain good grades (I’ve made mostly A’s, and some B’s during my higher education experience). Being a parent opens the mind to seeing the world in a different perspective and has inspired me to do my very best. Sometimes my non-parent friends will have difficulty with managing their time or underestimate the time that they have and I have to remember to be understanding of this because I once was the same way.

  • How is and/or has the coronavirus affected your life regarding school? How is and/or has the coronavirus affected your life regarding work?

My two NKU job positions, as a student assistant in the Graduates Social Work department and as a student pilot in Norse Advising, has switched to remote work. My son is also at home safe with me. These are the only major changes, and frankly, I am enjoying my extra time at home.

  • What are some tips and tricks you think may be helpful for others to know in terms of “Dos & Don’ts” for the coronavirus and containing it?

I will refer to CDC’s directions for keeping safe during this time: Practicing social distancing, only going out for essential items/staying 6 feet away from others, washing hands, and disinfecting the house frequently.

  • Can you describe your accomplishments? Who has been within your support system?

I am a Christian, and I believe by the grace of God I have gained my accomplishments. In 2018, I conducted and wrote a 6 month research study, Social Welfare Reform for Single Mothers for which I won 1st place in University of Cincinnati Undergraduate Mediated Minds Research Conference. I am also a member of the International/NKU chapter Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society. During my time in college, I have been blessed to receive 7 scholarships which have fully funded my educational journey and help provide for living expenses. I currently serve on the editorial board for NKU’s literary journal, the Pentangle.

I am happy to announce that I have been published in NKU’s literary journal, the Pentangle, as an editor and as a contributor. My work is titled, “A Movement of African American Pride in the Harlem Renaissance”.
Another young lady and myself are the first African American/URM editors in the 28 year history of the Pentangle. Also myself and a different young lady are the only featured URM’s in this edition. I really appreciate HEMI’s continued support and planting the proverbial “seed” in my life! 

UC Senior Reaches her Collegiate Goals & Glows

LaTia Kemp is a senior Criminal Justice student who will walk this spring and earn her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Cincinnati. This past fall, she interned at the Hamilton County Municipal Courthouse with Judge Alan Triggs. She spent 114 hours completing her internship and plans to use her experience to gain a position in probation, parole and/or corrections. HEMI congratulates LaTia for all of her hard work and determination to balance work/family/school while completing her B.S. degree! The HEMI team is so proud of you!!

Where was your internship? What was your title and duties?

My internship was located at the Hamilton County Courthouse. I interned alongside Judge Alan Triggs and Bailiff Niro Wijesooriya, as well as at the Clerk of Courts. Some of my duties included shadowing Judge Triggs and Bailiff Niro during courtroom proceedings and reflect on cases, aided with courtroom tasks that included identifying which police officers were associated with each case, carrying out Point of Sale transactions for the following: bonds, traffic/parking tickets, expungements, and license restoration. Type legal documents and file paperwork for civil cases, subpoenas, complaints, and Fresh Start (application for expungement).

How many hours did you work? How did you manage to maintain a busy internship/school/work schedule?

In a given week, I typically worked 8 hours. I went to school full-time and worked part-time. Fall semester, I handled a lot of responsibilities at once. Between school, work, interning, and taking care of two kids, it got a bit challenging. However, I was able to find a balance in order to be successful and maintain good mental health.

How was your overall experience?

My overall experience was fundamental, and unique. It was certainly a great opportunity to work with Judge Alan Triggs at the Hamilton County Municipal Court. I learned a lot about the court system and how they carry out many of their responsibilities.

Do you feel this internship helped prepare you for a career after college?

Yes, I was able to gain knowledge of the court system which gave me insight on how to dress, speak, and act in a courtroom setting.

How has this internship influenced you?

It has influenced me to consider becoming a lawyer, judge, or parole officer. I was able to witness many of their roles and responsibilities and was intrigued by their performance.

How did your mentor support you during this experience?

My mentor Kara coached me on how to dress professionally for this experience and gave career advice on how to communicate and be my best daily.

What is your advice to other mentees pursuing similar opportunities?

My advice to other mentees would be to reach for the stars, do not limit yourself. Don’t refrain from an opportunity out of fear or rejection. Sometimes it’s not about what you know, but about who you know. Always network and make connections. Building those positive relationships will help you in the end.

YAB Supports Foster Youth to be Whole – Mind, Body & Soul

This week’s HEMI success story celebrates the Hamilton County Youth Advsiory Board’s illuminating self-care event, “Make Me Whole Mind Body and Soul.”

This event was hosted by YAB on February 9, 2020 and provided interactive activities, which included services by our sponsoring organizations:

To our sponsoring organizations and volunteers:

THANK YOU!!!!! Everyone in attendance participated and truly appreciated your time, generosity and complimentary services/teaching/education.

Get involved with YAB:

FYI: YAB meets the second Sunday of every month at Peoples Church. To learn how to get involved with the Youth Advisory Board, please contact

YAB is currently collecting personal hygience items for their YAB Resource Closet. If you have any items to donate, please drop them off at 260 East University Ave. P.S. Don’t forget you can also donate luggage at any time too.

Needed items:

  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Soap/ body wash
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/dental floss
  • Shaving cream/razors
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Maxipads/tampons
  • Shopping bags

Thanks in advance!

Overcoming the Odds as an Athlete & Becoming College Bound

Herbert Rodgers IV is a senior at Aiken New Tech High School and has been an active member of HEMI and the YAB for about four years. As one of HEMI’s most active participants, he has participated in dozens of HEMI Meet-Ups and worked well with his mentors over the years. As a Board member of the YAB, he has advocated on behalf of foster youth at the state level in Columbus, planned and executed several service learning projects, and regularly contributes to the Board’s mission. He is an active member in the percussion in the Aiken Band and a fierce opponent on the wrestling mat. Herbert has been accepted to UC Blue Ash and plans to begin his college career as a Bearcat this Fall.

What motivates you to wrestle?

  • It’s an awesome sport. My motivation comes from having fun & loving a sport like wrestling.

What lessons have you learned from wrestling?

  • I’ve learned to never give up and to support my teammates no matter if we win or lose.

Can you tell me about your accomplishments recently and what work you put into reaching your goals?

  • I’ve won several medals including 2nd place (120) for Rumble on the River; 4th for Reading Varsity Invitational; two-time CMAC Champ for both 113 and 120 weight class (back to back); and a three-time CMAC Champ at Aiken.

How has wrestling helped you overcome set backs and prepared you for your future?

  • Wrestling has helped me overcome mental barriers and challenges while helping me work on anger management. I have built up my determination over time and learned to believe in myself. My team has helped me feel like I am a part of a family. Wrestling has increased my confidence and made me feel accomplished. I can uplift myself when I am feeling down. It is honestly one of my favorite things to do even when I lose a match. I love it because it has helped me grow a lot in life and will continue to help me in the future as well.

“My team has helped me feel like I am a part of a family. “

– Herbert Rodgers IV

Herbert, Congratulations on an Excellent Wrestling Season & We look forward to seeing your next chapter! – The HEMI Team!

On the Road to Success – It’s Best to Go with Your Own Heart!

The first time I met Tanisha Harris, I picked her up for the Scholars Dinner in 2017. What I noticed right away, was her positive attitude and her polite demeanor. Over the past few years, she has received several HEMI scholarships, which she shared her dreams of accomplishing her goals. I remember when Tanisha successfully completed her first semester of college and she wanted to transfer to another local college. She sent me a photo of her vision board and her pros/cons list. I was impressed with her fortitude and self-awareness to aspire towards her own success, even if it wasn’t a traditional pathway. She was brave and courageous to go with her heart. She didn’t know it, but she was blazing a path for other foster youth to overcome and earn their own degrees.

Tanisha Harris’ vision board from 2018.

I recently received feedback from Dress for Success about their interactions with Tanisha:

  • “Kimberly, I just had to send you a quick note, we suited Miss. Harris on Saturday and she was just pure joy. I hope you had a wonderful experience with us. Please share with her our very best wishes!!! We are all cheering her on.

Tanisha Harris has never ceased to amaze me, as I have witnessed her overcome several challenges to attain her certificate in Welding from Cincinnati State in the fall of 2017. She will be recognized for her achievement at the 2020 HEMI Scholars Dinner. I recently had the opportunity to interview her about her post-secondary education journey and know she will inspire everyone to “Go with your heart!”

-Kimberly Rhyan, HEMI Program Specialist, 2/3/2020

Tanisha Harris at the 2019 HEMI Scholarship Dinner.

1.) What made you choose Cincinnati State?

What helped me to choose Cincinnati State was the knowledge I had acquired through high school. After I completed my first semester as a Freshman at Tennessee State University, I realized I wasn’t really sure that I wanted a four-year traditional degree, but I knew I wanted something more than a High School Diploma. I looked into trades Cincinnati State and saw that they offered great certificate programs; I just chose Welding. 

2.) What did you gain from earning your certificate? 

I’ve learned a lot from gaining my certificate, including 1) reading blueprints, 2) using  computer software to construct blue prints, 3) how to weld & prevent specific outcomes of welds, and 4) how to test welded parts. In conclusion, I also learned what employers are seeking from welders to attain a job in the field.

3.) How do you feel now you’ve completed the certificate program?

Now that I’ve completed the certificate, I am excited because I’m no longer the average laborer but one with a little more experience on top of the fact that I’m also finishing my Associate’s degree in Welding too. I understand that my credentials now will allow me to find a better job. I want to finish school so that once I start my career in the welding field, I won’t have to go back to school to acquire a higher rank. 

4.) How has HEMI supported your success?

There are so many things I could say because the HEMI staff are some of my biggest supporters. Their love & encouragement means everything. They are awesome and I love this organization for their support! More specifically, I enjoy their workshops, my program specialist, and all of the outside resources referred to me. They assist me to get extra help, even when my HEMI scholarship can’t cover everything I need.

Over the past few years, my HEMI scholarship made it possible for me to focus on academics without having to overwork myself. HEMI taught me how to budget money and save for emergencies. I also learned that no matter what happens in life, success starts within and if you really want something you have to go get it.

HEMI has also provided me the opportunity to meet wonderful people and utilize their stories as encouragement. I will always be grateful.

5.) Share about your post-secondary journey – What challenges did you face? What advice would you give to someone trying to graduate?

Thus far, I have had a couple bumps in the road. Right after high school I wasn’t sure where I was going in life. I did not know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to accomplish (and sometimes, I still don’t). I understand that I always want to be better than the average, so I decided to learn a set of trade skills that places me above average and allows me to make a greater amount of money, especially if I ever want to live outside of my comfort zone.

After deciding to leave Tennessee State University, I really only had my faith and belief in myself to determine my next steps. I came  back and started at Cincinnati State decided welding was my next step and I successfully completed the program to earn the certificate. I’m currently finishing my Associates and will be welding very soon!

If I could give advice to anyone trying to finish their education, I want to tell you that it’s best to go with your own heart, because things are going to always be tough. As long as you are satisfied with your decision, nothing or nobody can bring you down about your experience because your effort will determine your success.

Tanisha smiles ear to ear with gratitude for her quilt from My Very Own Blanket.
MVOB creates quilts for college students as a part of their mission.

#HEMIGRAD – Congrats Tanisha!

Keep following your heart!

*HEMI expresses our deep gratitude to Dress for Success and My Very Own Blanket for making an impact in our students’ lives. A very special thanks is extended to your volunteers!

HEMI Mentors Help Unlock Student Success

Mentors & Mentors Celebrate Mentor Appreciation Month at Houdini’s Escape Room and Hamilton Inn.

National Mentoring Month is a campaign held each January to promote youth mentoring in the United States. It was inaugurated in 2002, and is spearheaded by the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

This month, HEMI recognizes our 100+ mentors supporting student success. Mentors and Mentees separated into four different groups at Houdini’s Escape Room on January 16, 2020. They each successfully escaped their rooms and walked over to the Hamilton Inn. Dinner included all the fix-in’s but the ribs and pulled chicken were the best! Again, HEMI thanks our mentors for their volunteerism and dedication to helping foster youth and alumni pursue their educational goals.

Announcing February’s Meet-Up

The next HEMI Meet-Up will be Thursday, February 6, from 6:00-8:00 at Peoples Church. Please R.S.V.P. to your program specialist to reserve your spot. The night will feature Dr. Pedapati and he will teach HEMI Mentors how to set realistic goals for mentorship.

Dr. Ernest Pedapati is a physician in pediatric medicine, child and adult psychiatry who specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents with developmental disorders. He is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Psychiatry and the Division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati Medical School. In 2016, he co-authored a textbook considering the impact of children’s individual strengths and weaknesses in psychotherapy.  He is a principal investigator in the Neurobehavioral Research group at CCHMC and is broadly funded by the National Institutes of Health, Autism Speaks, the Fragile X Research Association, and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation.


This month, HEMI Challenged our mentees to share how their mentor’s ROCK and they wrote some powerful messages of gratitude.

HEMI Mentor Referral

Please Refer a friend, colleague, and/or family member to become a HEMI Mentor. Refer to

Do you have a HEMI Success Story idea?

Please contact


Dean Larry Johnson also honored as a Distinguished Supporter

The Higher Education Mentoring Initiative (HEMI) provides Hamilton County foster youth a long-term academic mentoring relationship that begins in high school and is focused on awareness of, preparation for, and completion of post-secondary education and training. Post-secondary education is not seen as an attainable option for many teens in foster care.  However, in Hamilton County, foster youth are defying national odds in attending and graduating from post-secondary institutions across the country.

This year, 49 mentees participated in a rigorous application process and received over $100,000 to pursue their post-secondary goals: 1) Twenty-one students received High School and 1st year post-secondary schoalrships, 2) Four students received the High school essay award 3) Fifteen students received post-secondary scholarships, and 4) and nine students received re-engagement scholarships.

Every HEMI mentee in attendance also received a gift or giftcard, donated by CECH at the University of Cincinnati. The College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, with the School of Information Technology (CECH) is dedicated to making a difference in our communities through outreach, academic programs, and community partnerships.

Dean Larry Johnson was honored as a Distinguished HEMI Supporter. Dr. Johnson was essential in the creation of HEMI, and his dedication tothe program is a considerable factor in HEMI’s continued success. He has championed HEMI not only throughout the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services, but through the University of Cincinnati as a whole. HEMI is grateful for Dr. Johnson’s commitment to our program.

Thank you for helping HEMI celebrate this year’s award recipients! Your support and commitment to the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative ensures its ongoing success.

Help HEMI raise more funds for our 2020 Scholars Dinner & Scholarships. You can donate to our scholarships on the HEMI Hub homepage.

We Gratefully Acknowledge Support
Ron and Phyllis McSwain
AT&T Inc., Mark Romito
Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. / U.S. Bank Foundation,
Chris Bochenek
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
Mary and Kent Friel
Michael and Kara Graham
And special thanks to the many Friends of HEMI
who have contributed over the years. We could not do this
important work without you!

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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