Ohana of Howard County (OhanaHC) is modeled on the amazing work of a Baltimore non-profit organization that has helped change the lives of vulnerable students one by one. Thread creates strong personal connections among students, volunteers, and collaborators via a supportive and loving atmosphere in which members can thrive.
Learn more about Thread from founder Sarah Hemminger.
Susan and Steven Porter 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. Their areas of focus are education and underserved people.
The Porters recognized the need for a Thread-like operation to help academically struggling, underserved students in Howard County. Our area has an abundance of resources, but equal opportunity does not necessarily mean equal access. Many are not aware of the incredible resources that exist in our county or have felt, too often, that these opportunities are out of their reach. Many families or individuals feel isolated.
Empowering all students to take advantage of the resources around them enables them to chart a better course for their lives. Our community is enriched by their success as many will take their place in our future workforce and community. It is also a goal of OhanaHC that as soon as a student mentee turns 18, while still in the program, they become a mentor to an incoming 9th grader. Ohana mentors learn and grow from the many students and volunteers they connect with that are outside of their usual circles.
The Porters co-founded OhanaHC as a non-profit in 2020 and 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 over 70 community members serving as board members, committee members and mentors.
Today, our pilot program is underway at Wilde Lake High School, with 10 students and 41 Ohana mentors.
The program will expand each year, requiring more volunteers. Plans for the 2021 implementation at Hammond, Long Reach, and Oakland Mills High Schools are in progress; we will also return to Wilde Lake HS with a new group of eight. Our projected participation next year is 42 students and 180 - 190 mentors.
Meet the dedicated staff that make OhanaHC go every day.
Meet the people who shape our organization's mission and vision.
Our community partners are critical to our success.
Help change lives in our community with a corporate partnership.
Our volunteer committees drive the progress of OhanaHC.
Have a question? This is a good place to start.