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Thread’s approach, from the students we engage to the depth, breadth, and duration of the support we provide, is unprecedented.  By creating a new social fabric, where relationships are woven strong among students, volunteers and collaborators, Thread fundamentally alters how we define “family” and cultivates communities that transcend barriers, creating a future where everyone thrives.


The Thread Community Model



At the core of the Thread Community Model  is a student, engaged during his freshman year of high school. As a student spends time in the Thread Community, he forms deep and meaningful relationships with other students, volunteers, and collaborators. Relationships are the heart of what we do at Thread.




Once enrolled, each student is matched with a Thread Family, the basic building block of the organization.  A Thread Family is comprised of one student and a group of up to five university- and community-based volunteers willing to do whatever it takes to help their student realize his or her potential.

Unlike traditional school-based tutoring programs, Thread Families extend support beyond the school dayand into the home by creating customized and comprehensive solutions to address the root causes of academic and social challenges. The Thread Family works to build a deep foundation of trust with their student and with each other, modeling consistency, communication, and persistence. Thread Family members are active agents in their student’s life, often scheduling daily activities that might include packing lunches, providing rides to school, tutoring, a social activity like going out for ice cream or a baseball game, completing college applications, or obtaining daycare for a younger sibling. Each Family has a volunteer Head of Family (HOF), who ensures that their student’s needs are met. 




To provide students and volunteers with even greater support – and to facilitate even more meaningful relationships among our community members, eight individual Thread Families (including students from the same cohort and their Families) are woven together into an extended family of support called threads. Threads facilitate peer-to-peer support among students and volunteers and are managed by an experienced volunteer GrandParent (GP) who mentors the HOFs and facilitates the sharing of resources and practices among Thread Families.



Thread collaborators are members of the larger community who provide pro bono services, resources, expertise, and opportunities not only to students, but also to volunteers and the organization.

Thread Sites


In 2004, the Dunbar flagship site was founded and began matching volunteers from the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) East Baltimore campus with students from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. In 2010, the ACCE site was founded and began matching volunteers from the JHU Homewood campus with students from the Academy for College and Career Exploration (ACCE).  In 2014 Thread founded a third site at Frederick Douglass High school. Most recently, Thread founded it’s fourth site at Digital Harbor High School in February 2018.

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