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Harold Barrow came to ACHIEVEability in mid-1980’s in a very confused state of being, not knowing if life would ever change for him and his children. Prior to entering ACHIEVEability, Harold had dealt with many hardships in life: abuse from his father as a child, poverty with his mother after she left his father in order to save him from the abuse, and the use of drugs and alcohol beginning at an early age, as a pre-teen, to help him overcome the scars left from the abuse. This way of life led him to the horrors of a terrible addiction and, ultimately, homelessness. Along the way he fathered two children with a young woman who was addicted to crack cocaine. She abandoned their two crack addicted babies and left them in Harold’s care. This led Harold and his children to a shelter, which eventually led them to ACHIEVEability.
Harold entered the program with an eighth grade education and a limited capacity to read and write. Though, with support from the program he earned his GED and soon after that earned an associate’s degree in 1996 in general studies with a focus on mental health and social services from Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). In addition, he earned a certificate as a certified addictions counselor from CCP. Harold continued on with his academics and earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in psychology from Drexel University in 1999. Ultimately, he earned a master’s degree in social services from Capella University in 2008.
Since 1999, Harold has been employed with ACHIEVEability, initially working as a drug and alcohol counselor and currently as self-sufficiency. He continues to facilitate monthly drug and alcohol recovery groups at ACHIEVEability and continues to be an inspiration for participants in the program. In addition, Harold shares his story often, serving as a spokesperson for ACHIEVEability, specifically through the United Way campaign.