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Thread, a Baltimore nonprofit, weaves students' lives together

The Baltimore Sun
April 19, 2015

When Aisha Armstrong started her freshman year at the Academy for College and Career Exploration in Northwest Baltimore, she wasn't worried about making it through the next four years; she was worried about making it through the next day on $2 sandwiches from Subway.

Her grandmother had died, leaving her family unpinned, and the 14-year-old was shouldering some of the responsibility of caring for her family. Armstrong felt that unless school could stabilize her home life, she had no use for it.

Enter a group of strangers. They didn't look like her — or share the background and experiences that had caused her life to unravel. But they would help stitch it back together.

For the past decade, that's what Thread, a volunteer-driven mentoring program, has been doing for more than 200 Baltimore students: creating a family support structure to help them through graduation and six years beyond.

... Johns Hopkins University students largely drive the organization, forming volunteer groups of up to eight people — the Thread families, who are intimately involved in students' lives.