The Impact

What Makes THREADS Different?


THREADS is more than simply a feel-good program

based on anecdotal evidence. THREADS is deeply grounded in empirical research and data regarding the factors that promote healthy development for historically disenfranchised children of color.


THREADS mentors are interviewed and selected

from the most promising, talented, and dedicated undergraduates among dozens of interviewees every year. Those undergraduate mentors then receive rigorous training and support on how to partner with and support urban males of color.


The undergraduate mentors meet with

Dr. Matthews and other instructors for two hours weekly to read and discuss cutting-edge research on the social, cultural, and academic development of Black and Latinx youth within the context of urban education. That research content is then turn-keyed into activities, discussions, and other curricula that the mentors implement with their mentees at the school later in the week.


The curriculum is well-structured but also dynamic and living.

Each week focuses on a different topic, some of which include: “knowing and honoring the truth about myself” “what is manhood?” “working for social justice in our community” and “the relevance of math for the real world.” However, each year, mentors also do their own research and create individualized sessions to meet the specific needs of the mentee cohort that year.

Who We Serve

THREADS currently serves Black and Latinx youth at several middle school sites throughout Newark, New Jersey. However, we hope to continue expanding to more schools and beyond Newark in order to make a wider impact. THREADS also serves the undergraduate college students that work as mentors, providing knowledge and resources to help them better support the learning and development of historically underserved children.  


There were many things I liked about THREADS, but one of the things that outstanded the most was that they taught us leadership and how to become better men when we grow up. They taught us like many things we’re supposed to know to be successful in life… It helped me, because it gave me life lessons and it gave me knowledge that I would need to like be the man I am today, like assume that responsibility. It gives me knowledge like emotional knowledge. It gives me, like the knowledge that they give me is, makes me wiser. It makes me more calm.

– Edwin (7th grade; Dr. E. Alma Flagg School, 2018 Cohort)

THREADS was fun, but it wasn’t only fun; we also learned life skills that maybe we would need later on in life like leadership, taking responsibility, and being respectful… We met new people, so like the mentors, and we [i.e., the students] were all in the same school really, but people didn’t really talk. And THREADS brought everyone together… THREADS taught us to be responsible, and to be more humble, and to be respectful to others. Now we hand in work on time and we’re more, I’m more respectful to the teachers.

– Cesar (7th grade; Dr. E. Alma Flagg School, 2018 Cohort)


We have been working with the THREADS program for two years and have noticed the difference in the behavior of our 6th grade boys. Students who are currently in the program look forward to Thursday afternoons when they get to work with the THREADS mentors. Our current 7th graders [i.e., last year’s mentees] rave about the experience and can be heard referring back to the THREADS core values when dealing with challenging situations… [THREADS] is an experience that they will never forget.

– Jeffrey Castillo, School Operations Manager at Dr. E. Alma Flagg School

I have had the pleasure working with THREADS for two years within two different school settings, both with different demographics. While both populations served underprivileged communities, the specific need of each was unique… The program provided mentorship, guidance, concrete strategies, engagement, and HOPE to dozens of students. I would not hesitate to recommend THREADS to adolescent boys across the country. What THREADS offers is desperately needed.

– Yasmeen Sampson, Principal at Philip’s Academy Charter School Newark Campus

Impact by the Numbers

Data Coming Soon

THREADS Logic Model

Project Highlights

In the Media Magazine

Connecting THREADS: Student mentors support personal growth of middle school boys in Newark
By Amy Wagner


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