The future has officially begun!
Thread’s vision is for a Baltimore that is truly connected across lines of race and class – a vision that can and will change the trajectory of our city. Building this future requires ambitious growth at every level of our work. Fourteen years ago, Thread began with a group of 15 students from Dunbar High School and 2 volunteers. In 2018, we are excited to announce that Thread will partner with our fourth high school site, taking on more students, volunteers and collaborators than ever before. In February, Thread will begin enrolling students at Digital Harbor High School. Our first cohort will include 32 students, our largest single cohort in Thread history. The support and guidance we have received from Dr. Santelises, Principal Mobley, and the staff at Digital Harbor have been invaluable, as well as the enthusiasm and commitment that have come forth from their Federal Hill neighbors. Digital students will be joined by 32 students from Dunbar High School, 32 students from Frederick Douglass High School, and 16 students from ACCE for a total enrollment of 112 Thread students in 2018 who will be supported by more than 1200 volunteers and collaborators.
AmeriCorps strengthens our operations
Tyler Brown, Shateara Diggs, Kierra Gary, Gray Hargrove, LaShanah Holmes, Tyler Lucas, Andrew Nelson, Tiana Samuels, Niya Stewart, Ethan Thompson, Erica White, and Thread alums Donte Bethea and Eddie Blackstone will take on the important responsibilities of coordinating and implementing ThreadHOURS, the afterschool time that our students and their volunteers spend together. The AmeriCorps team will assist with managing logistics and serve as liaisons with our students’ teachers to provide staff and Family Members real time data regarding each student’s academic progress and needs.
Thread is one of thousands of diverse service opportunities offered by the AmeriCorps Network in every state and territory in the country. AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps millions of Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. “It is an honor to host the AmeriCorps program,” says Lea Ferguson, Vice President, Inspiration. “This is our first time partnering with a government agency, giving us access to additional funding and capacity building. We are learning a lot!”
Community Dinners strengthen students’ networks
In September, we launched this new community initiative by exposing Thread students to the exciting world of entrepreneurship. Wells Fargo hosted an intimate dinner at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, where entrepreneurs discussed the risks and rewards of starting one’s own business, as well as sharing some of their most useful lessons learned. This program provides our students with invaluable insight, in addition to offering an opportunity for new members of the community to get to know our students and volunteers.
October’s dinner, hosted by Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor, provided students with an inside look at the hospitality industry. Collaborators shared their personal stories about long-term successes in the field and the reward of working their way up the corporate ladder through hard work and perseverance.
The Community Dinners are part of Thread’s commitment to strengthen Baltimore’s social fabric. The next dinner, hosted by BGE, will take place in November with a conversation focused on engineering and other outdoor careers.
If you or your company would like to get to know our remarkable students and introduce them to career options by hosting one of these dinners, please contact Katherine Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student alumni strengthen our staff team
As these alums draw on their own journeys to build bonds with our students, volunteers, and fellow staff members, they are the pipeline of leadership for Thread and Baltimore. “At Thread, we know that relationships are wealth and understand that our human capital is our most powerful resource,” says Amber Earl, Special Assistant to the CEO. “We fundamentally believe that our student alumni are among our most important and impactful resources. They bring more than a decade of powerful institutional knowledge to the table, and many of them have served in multiple roles as volunteers, collaborators and on the Board. This unique vantage point situates them in a truly unique cross section of Thread community members that can’t be replicated by anyone else.”
Terrance Holmes, a member of Thread’s very first cohort at Dunbar, is our newest Program Associate. “My main goal [in this position] is to bridge the gap between student and volunteer and make the bonds strong and everlasting. Watching the attitudes of the students and volunteers transform from nonchalant to unwavering eagerness would be all I need to know that I have been successful in this role.”
Kendall Jamison has joined the staff as our Recruitment Associate. “I’ve always dreamed of working at Thread. I believe it’s my civic and human duty to give other students the opportunities that I had,” he shared. “I’m really inspired by Sarah – she is a true leader.”
Devin Morton has joined the staff as a Site Coordinator for the older students at Dunbar. “Each experience I have had with Thread has increased my desire to help the students and volunteers that Thread supports.”
“Dear Thread, It has been a lovely journey between us. Through thick and thin we have always been there for each other.” This is how Maurice Portee, began his cover letter applying for the position of Volunteer Recruitment Associate, working to recruit and retain our many volunteers and volunteer leaders in Thread’s “quiet revolution.”
Becoming AmeriCorps members allows two alums to give back while gaining valuable experience for their own futures.
Donte Bethea was a member of the second cohort at Dunbar High School. “Because I was a student in the not so distant past, I believe I can relate to the students that work with Thread. I understand the needs of the students and how adaptable and diligent you must be in order to work with them.”
Edward Blackstone dates his involvement with Thread to its very earliest days. He sums up the unique perspective and passion that our alumni bring to Thread. “Being from inner city Baltimore, I see the need not only for education in the way that the world works, but also consistent care and mentoring from those who seek to understand them.”
We salute all of our alums who have returned to Thread to pay it forward. We are awed by your accomplishments and recognize that you have much to teach us!