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This 15-year-old describes himself as "awesome," and we agree.  This charming and handsome young man works hard and likes to be nice to others.

He enjoys art class at school and loves to draw and paint.  When he is not expressing his artistic nature, he is playing games, participating in sports or watching sports on television.  He loves all sports and plays a variety of positions in each of them.

Xzavier enjoys listening to all types of music, but Michael Jackson is his favorite.  He likes scary or suspenseful movies.

AT&T donates for HEMI scholarships

So thankful to AT&T for this money - $12,000 for scholarships for teens in foster care.

The company has been an ongoing supporter of HEMI, a partnership between HCJFS, the University of Cincinnati and other entities that works with teens to see that they make it through high school and into college.

This is Mark Romito and Sarah Briggs from AT&T , with HCJFS Director  Moira Weir. 

If you know a teen in foster care, please reach out to HEMI or the caseworker to see that he or she is involved with this group that is having a real impact on foster teens' lives.

DeWine: Please consider becoming a foster parent 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine this week announced a new $1 million fund for recruitment of foster families, calling the lack of enough safe homes a tragedy and a "crisis of immense proportions."

More than 15,000 kids were in foster care in Ohio as of Aug. 5, he said in a press conference that was broadcast live. Yet the state has only about 7,200 licensed foster homes. That difference means a lot of kids are being sent to homes elsewhere, far away from their families and support systems.

In Hamilton County now, 2,295 kids live in care - 1,191 of them in foster homes, the rest in various types of care, including residential and living with relatives. We have 382 kids ready and waiting to be adopted. That number had held steady at 200 for more than a decade. 

The numbers are increasing in large part because of the heroin issue. Children are staying in care longer as their parents struggle to overcome their addictions, then often relapse.

"These children deserve a chance to grow up," DeWine said. "So this is a call to arms, loving arms. We must do everything we can."

It's not too late to help kids with school supplies

HCJFS has an employee outreach group called COVE, which stands for Community Outreach Volunteer Effort. The group has "adopted" a nearby school, Rothenberg Preparatory Academy in Over-the-Rhine.

Until the end of September, COVE members will be collecting school supplies to give to Rothenberg. Maybe you bought too many binders or an extra bottle of glue? We'll take them.

If you'd like to donate, email Keisha Wizzart or call 513-946-1690.
Do you have an audience we could borrow?

HEMI, the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative, needs more mentors. These are the people who work with our teens in foster care to get them through high school and college.

HEMI staff members would like to speak at your organization, church or business to try to interest more people in becoming mentors.

As we always say - not everyone can be a foster parent. But everyone can help kids in foster care.

Please contact HEMImentors@uc.edu or call 513-556-3670.