It's been a long time in the works, and now The Learning Center Project in Hastings is taking another step forward.
It's a big title on a big community project: director of The Learning Center.
"When you start interviewing somebody with passion, has some personal experience as well as some good old smarts, I'll tell you what, it was just a hands down winner choice," CASA Executive Director RuAnn Root said.
CASA's choice was Lauren Slaughter, just 22-years-old and fresh out of college. But, it's Slaughter's life experience that Root said makes her a perfect fit for the position.
"By my junior year of high school I had moved out on my own and stayed with various friends and a boyfriend at the time," Slaughter said.
Then came a move to attend Hastings College where she graduated at the top of her class. Now, she's set to lead the TLC Project, as a formerly homeless teen helping to guide youth in similar situations.
"I'm not going to be judging them," she said. "I've been there. I understand. If they make a mistake, I've made plenty of them too."
Root said that because of her background, Slaughter has the unique ability to relate to those in her care on a personal level.
"I think her just walking into a room without even saying anything is just going to show them, if she can do it I can do it too," Root said.
But, doing it, becoming director at such a young age, can be intimidating Slaughter said. She said the key is turning to those around her for support.
"I'm surrounded by people that have a lot of experience. That's what's really nice." she said. "If I have a question or I'm confused or I don't know what to do, I have plenty of resources to reach out to to get those answers."
And, she has a year to plan and look forward to helping kids just like her.
"I can give them the hope that you can do something," Slaughter said. "You don't have to be a statistic."
Renovatoins on the Maryland Building, which will house The Learning Center, start in August. Root said they hope to be moving teens in the following year.