Anthony Barrows grew up in the projects in Boston. He entered the foster care system at 14 years old. He talks about the challenges that most teenagers have as they enter foster care in addition to his journey from group homes to getting placed in a predominantly white neighborhood.
“Graffiti art saved my life,” said Anthony, although in the state of Massachusetts Graffiti is a felony. Yes, Anthony had been arrested several times but Anthony said being “Lucky” is the theme of his life. Although not having the best grades, Anthony graduated from high school. He didn’t have a plan so he decided to get a job but his foster mother and social worker intervened and made him go apply to the local college. Luckily, he got in.
After completing college, Anthony felt led to get a job as a social worker. He wanted to help kids that was much like him when he was younger. Over the years he’s worked to continue to advocate for foster youth. He later applied to get another Master’s Degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Anthony Barrows is a Managing Director at the applied behavioral science firm ideas42 where he focuses on domestic poverty, local government, post-secondary education, and civic engagement. Anthony previously worked over ten years in child welfare, spanning positions in direct service, supervision, training, advocacy, project management and system improvement. He is also a practicing artist and has led art classes and arts-oriented youth development programming. Anthony holds a BA in Philosophy and Art from University of Mass Boston, an MFA in Printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, and an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where he was a Gleitsman Leadership Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership.