Boys Hope Girls Hope Cincinnati is a life-changing program for underprivileged children who demonstrate academic capability and motivation. Housed in one of three safe and healthy homes, scholars are provided with food, clothing, transportation, tutoring and mental health services at no expense to them or their families. BHGH does not take custody of the students, but rather “co-parents” with their families, sharing the responsibility to nurture and support each student. Scholars have access to tutors, mentors and a loving staff to support their success. Southwest Ohio Parent spoke to Missy Hendon Deters, executive director of Boys Hope Girls Hope Cincinnati, to learn more about this organization.
When do kids enter BHGH, and how long do they spend with you?
The BHGH scholarship offered to our scholars is a deep investment in them and their future. We know education is the great equalizer for success. Typically, our scholars begin their academic journey with us in seventh grade and continue through high school and onto college. They could be supported by BHGH for up to 10 years. We partner with top parochial schools to make sure our scholars have a strong academic path.
How do you measure success?
Success is measured by academic achievement, mental and emotional well-being. The largest success for BHGH is witnessing the graduations of our scholars and collegians. In 2021, our five seniors received over 60 college acceptances and over $70,000 in scholarships. We also had two seniors graduate from college and have started their careers.
What are your goals for 2022?
BHGH will continue to serve our scholars safely in our homes and support their educational success. We hope to strengthen our program and return to our normal capacity of serving 24 scholars in our three homes. We look forward to expanding and recruiting other deserving scholars that we can help support on their educational journey.
How has the ongoing pandemic impacted BHGH?
With the closing of schools and shutdowns, we had to send our youth home to their guardians. We supplied our scholars with virtual academic and emotional support. We also realized we needed to take care of their families during this difficult time. From mid-March through May 2020, we provided weekly care packages of food, cleaning and hygiene supplies for 92 people. Our staff continued to support our scholars with virtual check-ins, programming and academic support.
It was necessary for us to decrease the number of students we serve. Our homes have the capacity for 24 residential scholars when bedrooms can be double occupied. Due to the pandemic and CDC guidelines, we modified our homes so that each scholar would have their own bedroom to create social distancing and safety. This reduced the number of scholars to 18.
How can everyday folks help BHGH?
People can volunteer to be a tutor or mentor, or donate gift cards or meals for our homes. People can also donate through our website (bhghcincinnati.org/donate) or our online auction to help fund needed supplies. Go to biddingforgood.com and search Boys Hope Girls Hope Cincinnati.