First girl from "Boys Hope Girls Hope" graduates and moves to college

NE BALTIMORE, Md. - When the door on Fleetwood Ave. kicked open four years ago, Shaolin Holloman's life was on a path of change.

"I remember saying July 9th was the best day of my life," said Holloman.

She sure did, we found it in the archives.  July 9, 2010 was an ambush, as the designers of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" told the ladies they would be getting a home.

In 9 days, community volunteers joined builder Chris Rachuba to finish the 13,000 square-foot home from the ground up, creating a foundation for young women.

"It was just a lot of violence where I grew up and it was really bad," said Holloman.

Shaolin joined seven girls and her house manager.  They went to a new school and lived with new rules.

"I used to be so closed-minded I didn't want anybody telling me anything.  I knew what I wanted to do.  It was like don't tell me nothing, I'm just here to better myself and I don't need your help," said Holloman.             

Well she lightened up.  It would be pretty hard not to, surrounded by the colorful walls, encouraging words, a pink kitchen countertop that makes cooking fun, the table with her name inscribed, and a basement where dreams are made.  College tours hang on the wall. 

"To be able to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way and to be able also to know the real meaning of relationships, building relationships with people, knowing yourself and not being afraid to get to know other people as well and to make a difference," said Thrower. 

Shaolin's mom stood by her daughter moving out of East Baltimore at the age of 14.

"I didn't want her to go but I knew she needed to go," said Jacquelyn Boone, Shaolin's Mom.

Boys Hope Girls Hope looks for students who are determined to succeed, but the struggles around them are in the way.

"It has to be a young lady that is need of a great education, a safe environment," said Cynthia Burks-Harriel, Program Director, Boys Hope Girls Hope.

Shaolin kissed her graduation picture goodbye and walked out of her home one last time, before driving 30 minutes down the road to Stevenson University.  She's come a long way from the home and program that turned a girl into a woman.

"After four years of being here, I'm a happier person," said Holloman. 

Shaolin wants to study human services and someday open a teen suicide prevention center.  She said if we open our eyes to the emotion around us, we could save a life.

Boys Hope Girls Hope is now searching for the right fit to fill Shaolin's room.  You can e-mail Burks-Harriel if you are interested in applying:

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