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Providing social and emotional support
to youth through Hip-Hop based practices.

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The Hope Scholars Initiative provides youth programming as well as professional development training to help educators diversify their resources, curriculum, text, and literature to reflect the diverse populations in which they serve. 


Since 2018, Hope Scholars Initiative has partnered with over 20 schools and institutions to provide services ranging from in-class curriculum to youth mentorship to arts partnerships with correctional facilities and professional development training
for faculty and staff.

Our Partners


explore our Programs

Supportive Youth Programming

These programs often focus on creating a safe and welcoming environment where youth can express themselves, develop new skills, and build relationships with peers and adult mentors.

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Higher Education & Professional Development

Opportunities for educators, faculty, and staff to learn how to effectively bring Hip Hop culture to your learning environment. Build the confidence and enhance your skills and competency through workshops, classroom delivery, residencies and partnerships are interested in, while professional development provides specific training and development activities to enhance their skills and competency.

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lecture series &
community events

Featuring a range of topics and activities for people of all ages. These events are designed to promote engagement and education on social issues, environmental concerns, and cultural diversity.

our impact

“We were seeking a guest artist for our therapeutic arts program and…needed an artist who could help us address the significant social and emotional needs we were witnessing with our students in light of their many struggles related to racial tension, isolation and extended distance learning. His positivity was contagious. We noted a dramatic upward shift in our students’ perception of self-empowerment throughout the program. They expressed a desire to succeed in a world filled with challenges. Could we ask for a better outcome?”


– Kathy Vespia, Ed. D. Charette High School

As the Program Manager for the Arts Initiative of the Department of Youth Services, the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts,
I employ artists in all mediums to conduct residencies with incarcerated youth throughout the state. Harrison’s gift is hearing and absorbing the real-life stories of DYS youth…and then
helping students consider an alternative path upon their return to the community. 


– Magda Spasiano, DYS Arts Initiative


Rarely, in my 40 years as an educator, have I witnessed an adult so adept at reaching at-risk young men. Drawing upon his own experience, natural empathy, and ability to frame probing questions, Harrison regularly challenges our students to examine themselves and inspires them to be the best version of themselves. He enables even the most guarded of youth to confide and trust in each other. Rivalries vanish, posturing and attitudes give way to mutual acceptance and sharing.”


– John C. Garrels, M.Ed, Strive School

As an Administrator in Providence and a product of the Providence School System where over 90% of the students are of color, I know firsthand what it takes to connect, engage, and empower our youth.


If you are looking for an educator who conveys power, unity, and self-awareness to help galvanize our most vulnerable and at-risk students, please look further than Harrison Grigsby.


– Matthew J. Buchanan M.Ed

Assistant Principal, Mount Pleasant High School




Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, Harrison 'Jon Hope' Grigsby is a multifaceted individual whose career has seamlessly intertwined the worlds of Hip Hop and education. With a deep commitment to empowering youth, he is the founder of the Hope Scholars Initiative (HSI), a project driven by his passion for authentic spaces and the transformative potential of Hip Hop.

In 2022, Jon Hope's work earned him the Department of Youth Services Commissioner Award for Community Partnership, recognizing his ability to connect the realms of Hip Hop and education. Since HSI’s inception, Grigsby has invested thousands of hours mentoring youth in Southern New England, making a tangible impact on the lives of those he has guided.

Harrison Grigsby stands out not only as the founder of the Hope Scholars Initiative but also as a prominent figure acknowledged by Black Enterprise Magazine. He earned a spot on their Be Modern campaign, a prestigious list recognizing 100 Black Men making significant impacts in their respective fields.

Grigsby’s influence extends beyond Providence; he has guest lectured at institutions like the University of Rhode Island, Roger Williams University, and Harvard University. His talks emphasize the practical applications of integrating Hip Hop into education, showcasing its potential to engage and inspire students and challenge cultural norms in academia.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Grigsby collaborates with various organizations, schools, and institutions nationwide, sharing insights best practices, and professional development of educators. His mission is clear: advocating for the integration of Hip Hop into mainstream education to unlock creativity and strengthen the engagement gap among youth in the learning process.

Not only did he secure a spot in the esteemed Leadership Rhode Island cohort in 2024, but Grigsby also gained support from the Papitto Opportunity Connection through their grant. This support underscores the significance of his work and its potential for broader positive influence.


Harrison Grigsby is a proud father to his daughter and holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Rhode Island College. 

free resources

Respect Your Passion
Vol. 1 [E Book]

As artists, we are told to embrace the journey but the journey must be approached with an effective plan and mindset to overcome the daily challenges and reach your goals.

hip-hop scholars manual

Key tips and strategies on how to secure program buy-in from your administration to bring Hip Hop Ed to your institution.

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