My name is Harold and I am 53 years old. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m the youngest of eleven siblings, seven boys and four girls. I, along with my siblings were raised in a two bedroom apartment until eventually, one-by-one, we were able to move out on our own. I lived with my parents until I graduated high school in 1983.
Growing up my father ran a gambling house, where there were plenty of drugs and alcohol. During this time is when I began to self-medicate.
For a while in high school I was able to manage the drugs and continue to play sports until one day the drugs took over. After graduation I moved away from my parents’ house and that is when my journey of being homeless began.
In 2007, after many years of moving from state to state, I decided to move to Grand Rapids, MI and start a new life for myself. In 2008 I was married and unfortunately divorced by 2009. In 2010, I acquired a son that now is 8 years old. A year after he was born my life began to spiral out of control. I began to use alcohol and drugs to mask my problems, which led to stealing to be able to support my habit.
Then things started to get rough. This is when I returned to being homeless and decided to move back to Ohio. Life in Ohio was still not working out for me so I decided to move back to Michigan and try and pull my life back together and raise my son.
“But sometimes my plans are not God’s plans,” said Sidney. “After becoming a Christian years ago and volunteering at several places, I developed a passion and felt I was led to help people in need. But later I found myself in need. My calling to help those in need was reaffirmed after witnessing the level of care and compassion I received at Mel Trotter Ministries.”
I heard about Mel Trotter Ministries before I moved back to Ohio and when I returned to Michigan they were the only shelter that could help me end my homelessness. There were other homeless men and women that pointed me in the right direction towards the Mission. When I arrived in Michigan I checked into Mel Trotter Ministries, found a job, and entered the Restoration Program for men. With the help from staff, the Salvation Army, and the Restoration Program I was able to get my first apartment. If it had not been for Mel Trotter and others in the community that support Mel Trotter Ministries none of this would be possible for men and women like me in Grand Rapids.
The difference between the person I was when I came to Mel Trotter and the person I am now, is that I’m more humble and focused than I used to be. Through the help of Reverend Leonard and the staff, I’m able to stay focused on my long-term goals. My goals as of today are to be an advocate to other homeless people, be a part of the Ministry in my church, be a better father and continue to take better care of my health.
There is a special bible verse that I continue to use on a daily basis, Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show which path to take.”