Recently, I learned about an organization that stopped me in my tracks and has forced me to re-evaluate my assumptions about what’s possible. It’s called Thread. It rallies volunteer community support around underperforming students in Baltimore public high schools and gets results that defy all expectations.

Thread identifies students in ninth grade who are facing major life challenges: poverty, homelessness, family breakdown or single parents who are overwhelmed by work, illness or other problems. The students are in the bottom 25 percent of their classes academically and are often chronically absent. Thread connects them with a team of up to five volunteers who commit to support them in any way necessary, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for 10 years.

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