Senior Grace Hollin unites community and Syrian refugees

More stories from Olivia Collins


Senior Grace Hollin sells bracelets for five dollars in the school store as a fundraiser for her Senior Project. During the month of July, Hollin traveled to Bad Blankenburg, Germany to help unite the Syrians with the Germans.

As she knots the end of her three-hundredth bracelet, senior Grace Hollin shouts for joy and thinks about the many Syrian refugees that she will be positively impacting through her Senior Project. Hollin has made handmade bracelets, each with a pendant engraved with the letters “p.n.b.” to sell as a fundraiser. “P.n.b.” stands for “playgrounds not battlegrounds,” and all of the funds raised will go toward building a playground for the children in Bad Blankenburg, Germany.

 Hollin spent a month of her summer vacation in a town in Thuringia, Germany called Bad Blankenburg where she volunteered and cared for Syrian refugees and children.  Hollin got the idea to travel to Germany to help the refugees from U.S. History teacher Darrion Siler’s class last year. After learning about their lives and the challenges that they face, Hollin asked herself, “why aren’t these people treated like everybody else? They’re just running away from war.”

While in Germany, Hollin noticed the lack of resources that the children have to have fun. In the particular camp that Hollin volunteered at, the children were afraid of their situation and they did not know how to unite themselves with one another. Hollin spent her time in Germany ensuring that the children learned about love and unity by sharing her own enthusiasm for life and her love for others, despite their background. “I wanted the children to know that they can be friends with anyone and that they can be nice to anyone, it doesn’t matter where they come from,” Hollin said.

While Hollin spent most of her time with both the Syrian and the German children, helping them to become friends by doing arts and crafts with them, taking them on walks, and buying them ice cream, Hollin also learned about the culture in Bad Blankenburg.  At the camp, Hollin had a close-up look at what life as a German woman is like.  Hollin spoke about how she was not allowed to speak at the dinner table because in Germany women are not allowed to do that.  

As a solution to keep unity present in the Syrian and German children’s lives after Hollin returned to the United States, Hollin has decided to focus her Senior Project primarily on raising money to build the children a playground. “I think it’s a good way to bring the refugees together both with themselves and the German children,” Hollin said.  

Senior Chika Chuku heard about Hollin’s project and supports her efforts to help the Syrians. “If every child knew the importance of unity and understood why prejudice is wrong the future would be much better. Grace is such a loving and caring person. She always wants the best for everyone and her project is great for the community,” she said.

“I think it’s a great thing that she is doing this and it makes my heart feel warm that someone at our school, The John Carroll School, is helping the Syrian refugees in Germany.  If it were my family running away from war, I would want everyone to help them,” sophomore Jamison Blondell said.  Blondell also heard about Hollin’s project through the community.

The bracelets for Hollin’s project are currently on sale for five dollars at the Nest on Main on Main Street in Bel Air. They are also on sale in the JC bookstore for the same price. They were created in a variety of colors and sizes to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to support Hollin and the Syrian refugees, as well as have a constant reminder to spread love and unity.

Hollin aims to stand out as a beacon of love and unity for the Syrian children and has a desire for community, both in Germany and in JC. “I just love unity and I want everyone to be together,” Hollin said.

Olivia Collins is a Community Editor for The Patriot and