Harold's Story: A perfect fit

This story was first printed in the Spring 2010 issue of Sunshine Magazine.
 

Photo of Harold, Methodist Children's HomeHarold believes he found the right place to plug in when he came to Methodist Children's Home two years ago.

When Harold was 10, he went to live with his aunt and uncle after his father passed away. The pain of his father’s death and his unresolved anger haunted Harold.

At the age of 12, Harold began a series of placements in residential programs in an effort to deal with his pain. During his last placement, he experienced so much growth that they graduated him from their program and considered him a success.

However, when Harold learned he was graduating, he knew he was not ready and that God was not finished molding him.

“I knew I still had a lot of growing up to do,” Harold said. “I had come a long way, but I knew how much further I could go if I could just find the right place to plug in.”

When Harold heard about the residential program at MCH from a caseworker at his previous placement, he knew it was the perfect fit.

In July 2008, just before his junior year of high school, Harold came to MCH. He immediately made friends with other residents and began earning the trust of his staff. He received the opportunity to work off campus, and he was able to attend Waco High School so he could compete in cross-country and track and field.

“I quickly learned that in order to be myself, I had to understand who I really was,” Harold said. “I didn’t need to worry about what anyone else thought of me. I had to take responsibility for my own actions. I needed to be mature and an example to other youth here.”

Harold knows that good behavior is not about getting privileges or respect from his staff, but about developing good character. Harold credits his homeparents, Matt and Liz Workman, for giving him their respect and love from the start.

“I’ve really learned that it makes a difference how I treat people,” Harold said. “I think life is about being considerate of what you have, knowing that everything in life is not free or guaranteed.”

Harold has taken this lesson to heart. His energy and enthusiasm help him lead the other youth in his home unit. He is grateful for a close relationship he has developed with his best friend, Greg.

“We talk about everything,” Harold said. “It is really great to be able to be there for someone and have them there for you.”

The Workmans believe that Harold is a great advocate for other young people because of the close relationships he has developed with other youth in the home. When the Workmans are called on to talk with a young person about his behavior, Harold will often take the initiative to discuss it with the youth first, then provide insight about the situation.

“It is great to have Harold as a supporter,” Liz said. “He is always respectful of our authority, but he can also give us insight into the deeper things going on in our guys’ lives when it’s appropriate.”

In addition to the lessons he has learned from his own choices and actions, Harold believes he has also experienced growth by living with other young people.

“I think I matured a lot faster in residential placements,” Harold said. “I am confronted every day with issues – either my own or those of someone I live with. Eventually I had to choose how I was going to deal with those things, and I just chose to deal with them in a positive way.”

As Harold looked forward to graduating from high school last June, he was excited, yet nervous about the future.

“I really hope that I can get a track or cross-country scholarship to attend college,” Harold said. “I want to work in medicine in some way, perhaps radiologic technology or cardiology. I would like to eventually go to medical school.”

The Workmans are confident that Harold can accomplish anything he puts his mind to.

“Harold is a brilliant young man,” Matt Workman said. “He has a ton of potential and ambition and we know he will be successful in whatever he chooses to do.”

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