So, what lessons can we learn from such programs? First, we should recognize that it is unfair to demand that our schools alone be responsible for educating our children and preparing them for college and life. There must be engagement from all of us — family, friends, peers and society as a whole — to work toward the goal of preparing our most precious commodity, our children, with the tools to be successful and productive adults. Second, these programs starkly show that any child, regardless of his or her background or circumstances, is capable of succeeding with the right amount of mentoring and encouragement. Thread and My Sister's Circle are working with some of our most traumatized and neglected children yet achieving amazing results. And they are doing it through intense and relentless effort to help the student in all facets of his or her life, not only through high school, but beyond.