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SOURCE (Student Outreach Resource Center)

Thread (formerly Incentive Mentoring Program)

at Dunbar High School (and at the ACE School in Hampden, in partnership with JHU's Homewood campus)

1400 Orleans Street
Baltimore, MD 21231
PHONE: (443) 813-7670
CONTACT: Sarah Hemminger, Founder

Function of Organization/Site:

The goal of Thread is to transform teenagers who are failing high school into Baltimore City's most valuable role models. Thread extends a school-based tutoring program to the home, providing both academic and social support to youth struggling with poverty, drugs, and violence.The secondary goal of Thread is that mentors learn just as much from the teenagers as the mentees learn from them. Volunteers gain first-hand experience with the psychosocial challenges faced by Baltimore's youth, preparing them to be more sensitive and effective health professionals. Additionally, Thread is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is largely student-run, affording rare leadership opportunities to graduate students. 

Involvement Opportunities:



Additional Information:


According to USA Today, only 38.5% of Baltimore City children will receive a high school diploma on time. Although Thread students must be failing high school to enter the program, they have achieved a 100% graduation and 100% college acceptance rate. Teens on the verge of expulsion from high school are now attending colleges such as Bowdoin, Purdue, Frostburg State and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. These triumphant individuals, equipped with both education and passion, will create a powerful force of social change.

"Family Style" Mentoring Model:

Mentoring teams, called "Thread Families" not only support teenagers in overcoming their own adversity, but also show them how empowering it is to help others do the same. Each "Thread Family" adapts to its student's unique needs throughout high school and coaches life skills through activities based on 3 core elements: academic assistance, community service, and team-building.


"I was about to get transferred back to a gun-infested school when luckily my assistant principal introduced me to Thread. I became disciplined and focused, even when things at home were disappointing. Over the past 3 years, my semester GPA went from a 2.0 to a 3.9.  I was ecstatic when I made Excellence Honor Roll." ~ Judith James, Wesley College '11 (Nursing)

"My first community service project was a turning point in my life because it boosted my confidence level and started a healing process for me... Now I make plans for the future. I have branched into my own person, instead of letting stereotypes define me. Now I am confident in myself and in everything I do, that I am ready to tackle every situation life has to offer me--starting with college." ~ Gregory Mason, Mercyhurst College '12 (Fashion Merchandising)

"At first, I honestly only went for the free dinners, but over time I realized that Thread was helping me discover my talents and develop goals..During our camping trip, I saw first-hand that this different world outside of Baltimore was not just an imaginary place the mentors made up, but it was real. I never knew until that day that there were places that did not look like the city I had lived all my life. This trip helped me to see with my own eyes that the Baltimore cycle was able to be broken." ~ Derick Brown, Frostburg State University '11 (Mathematics)

"The teenagers who I originally set out to rescue have since become my personal heroes." ~ Melissa Dattalo, Thread Volunteer (MD/MPH student)

"When founding Thread, my goal was to teach a few young adults to dream big and then teach them how to accomplish their aspirations." ~ Sarah Hemminger, Thred Executive Director (PhD student)