OhanaHC and Thread
OhanaHC was inspired by the amazing work of Thread, a Baltimore non-profit organization that was founded in 2004 by Sarah and Ryan Hemminger. Its mission is to harness the power of relationships to create a new social fabric of diverse individuals deeply engaged with young people facing the most significant opportunity and achievement gaps. Thread is committed to ending social isolation and building a more equitable culture in which everyone thrives.
Susan and Steven Porter are Howard County residents who have experience in growing for-profit companies and volunteering in Howard County nonprofits. Both Susan and Steven are Leadership Howard County (LHC) alumni. They have served on several boards including the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, the Bright Minds Foundation, the Howard County Arts Council, LHC, and the Community Foundation of Howard County.
Through their volunteerism in the community, the Porters recognized the need for a Thread-like operation in Howard County, to help academically struggling, underserved students. This county has an abundance of resources, but equal opportunity does not mean equal access. The Porters recognized that there was an opportunity to spread awareness and access to the incredible resources that exist in our county while supporting those who are underserved or isolated. Empowering all students to take advantage of the resources around them enables them to chart a better course for their lives and build a stronger community for us all.
The Porters co-founded OhanaHC as a non-profit in 2020; the organization has only grown because of the committed community members who volunteered to make OhanaHC a reality. It started with a steering committee of 15 volunteers who launched the pilot.
We now have close to 200 community members serving as board members, committee members, and mentors. Our pilot program started at Wilde Lake High School with just ten students and has now expanded to Oakland Mills, Hammond, and Long Reach.
Why Howard County?
Disparities continue to exist in our country due to the reinforcement of racial injustice, policies, and cultures that are infused within the fabric of the nation. While Howard County is one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, it isn’t excluded from these systems and their impacts on the community. We choose to hold ourselves accountable in a way that helps strengthen community connections and integration, while also equitably supporting opportunities for our students in the school system.