About Holly Ashley
Throughout her life and career, Holly has maintained involvement in a vast array of professional, charitable, and personal endeavors, striving for excellence in each of her pursuits. Holly’s interest in social services began in 2000, when she and her husband learned that they were going to have twins. A routine examination revealed that the babies were conjoined at the stomach and chest. The doctors quietly hinted that they should have a second trimester abortion because the chances of the twins surviving nine months was slim. Rejecting that option, they decided to trust God and fight the good fight of faith in spite of the odds.
After many tests, they learned that each baby had their own extremities but shared a heart and other internal organs. As the pregnancy progressed, both babies grew at a normal rate and were in good condition. Against all odds, the girls made it to the end of their eighth month before the doctors performed a cesarean section. On November 9, 2000, the Ashley’s daughters were delivered. Unfortunately, the tiny heart they shared kept them alive for three short hours.
This journey would lead Holly to establish youth organizations that provided community based residential and case management services to the youth served by Child and Family Services Agency and the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in Washington, DC. With more than two decades of operational, management and entrepreneurial experience, she has developed a clear understanding for what it takes to be successful and her life has been committed to empowering others who are at-risk ever since.
Holly achieved her Master of Social Work degree (with a specialization in Clinical Behavioral Health) from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and is interested in pursuing a law degree. She has chosen this path as a means to better service clients involved in the criminal justice system. After observing how lawyers and social workers can influence the outcome of someone’s life, Holly saw these professions as an opportunity to make greater impact in the lives of others in which the consequences of her work could be seen directly.
During her advance year in social work school, Holly had the pleasure of serving as a Forensic Social Work Intern/Mitigation Specialist at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, where she worked closely with attorneys, social workers and clients from indigent backgrounds. She became passionate about the client-centered, relationship-based work that respects the humanity and dignity of people involved in the criminal justice system. Here, she took advantage of the opportunity to expand her commitment to public service and enhance her investigative, interviewing and writing skills to become a better advocate.
For Holly, pursuing a Juris Doctorate degree is not simply a means of self-actualization, but an avenue to justice and a means to speak for those in society who are often deemed voiceless. Far too often, social work and law reflects the existing societal gaps and lacks the power necessary to effectively advocate for disenfranchised people. Throughout her years of working with at-risk youth and their families, she has observed the lack of shared vision between legal and social service systems. Holly wants to play an important role in implementing comprehensive policies that influence social change.
Her dedication to the service of others continues, knowing that people have been created to live for something greater than themselves. She firmly believes that the contribution people make to this world should be measured by something more significant than the size of a their home or the community where it is located. Holly charges that a person's life will find lasting importance in how they choose to live, more importantly, how they empower others to live theirs.
"Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor."