By Jim Allen, Editor, NuVote Reach
Letter of Support for House of Hope City of Help 2013 Graduation and Fundraiser from DC Mayor Vincent C.Gray
Dr. Robert L. Woodson, Keynote Address, House of Help City of Hope 2013 Graduation Exercises, March 30, 2013, Kingdom City, Waldorf, MD
Rev. George E, Holmes, White House Faith-based adviser with words of encouragement for grads
Bishop Dr. Shirley Holloway (L) and Assistant, Minister Gloria Williams (R)
House of Help City of Hope 2013 Graduates
2013 Class Valedictorian and Bishop Dr. Hoiloway
Graduate with dignitaries
Dr. Woodson with Graduate
First Teen Graduate
Grads gather for final exhortation
Bishop Dr. Holloway commissions post grads to nurture new grads
DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray issued an official statement in support of the House of Help City of Hope 2013 graduation ceremony and fundraiser this past Saturday; the pomp and circumstances of which marked a new start in the lives of twenty-five men and two women who completed the first phase of the pioneering faith-based House of Help City of Hope intervention program, designed to help individuals who have struggled with drugs, alcohol, depression (and other mental health challenges), physical, sexual or psychological abuse, homelessness and/or have criminal backgrounds get their lives back on track.
“This occasion is an opportunity to reflect on your important and respected voice promoting peace, racial and religious dialogue, understanding, cooperation and mutual respect for differences,” wrote Gray.
“Your programs have proven to help enrich the quality of life in our community. As you gather to celebrate this festive occasion, please continue your charitable contributions and continued support to youth programs, education, health fairs and community outreach activities,” added the mayor.
Dr. Robert L. Woodson Sr., president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, nationally known as the “godfather” of neighborhood economic development, and a long-time supporter of the House of Help City of Hope, delivered the keynote address. His message to the gathering at the program’s Kingdom City campus in Waldorf, MD was one of encouragement to “continue to be more than conquerors.”
Woodson also framed the mission ahead for the graduates and the “ennobling” program invoking the words of Mother Teresa: “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.”
The Reverend George Edward Holmes, a member of President Barack Obama’s National African American Clergy Leadership Working Group and chaplain of the District of Columbia Democratic State Committee, exhorted the graduates to “stand firm” and to “remember the source of [their] strength” when forces and people from their former lives try to get them off “the positive path” they are now on.
Bishop Dr. Shirley Holloway, Founder and CEO of the House of Help City of Hope, and creator of the innovative hand up, not hand out treatment programs, is often a proverbial beacon in the night for the lost—providing shelter, food and counseling for the dejected and tormented.
“Of course, I am so proud of our graduates—what they have accomplished for themselves and for their families is what this is all about,” said Holloway.
“And for the first time, we graduated some teens. I’ll admit, initially, I was a little reluctant to go this route. But I am now confident this has opened a new window for us to be of service to more families in DC, Maryland and Virginia communities,” she continued.
“This was also a most fitting end to a wonderful week of international fellowship for our ministry conference. We had visitors who attended the graduation in from as far as Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Angola, Congo, and as near Kansas City [Missouri], Atlanta and Baltimore,” Holloway added.
Since its humble beginnings, nearly 20 years ago, the 501(c)3 non-profit House of Help City of Hope program now has treatment, continuing education and/or housing facilities in Washington, DC and Prince George’s and Charles Counties, MD and has served over 30,000 individuals.
Holloway, who is also a certified substance abuse counselor, has been featured in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The New York Post, and Afro-American Newspapers. She travels nationally and internationally preaching the gospel and oversees churches in Florida, Louisiana, Israel, UK, Russia, and supports the HOPE orphanage in Uganda.
Note: For more information about House of Help City of Hope, to financially support their programs or make other donations of goods or services you may call Bishop Dr. Holloway at (202) 889-2942. House of Help City of Hope has a recidivism rate of 15-25% compared to the national average of 30-59% for drug court graduates and as compared to a 75-80% recidivism rate for those not participating in any structured program (Statistics cited are according to researchers working under the auspices of the Virginia Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee: Planning and Development Subcommittee, June 2008).