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Andrea Scarrow

Personnel Profiles

Andrea Scarrow

Whether at work or at home, Scarrow reaches out and helps people

Andrea Scarrow's life and career have come full circle, so to speak. She grew up on a farm in Moultrie, left to attend college, get married, become a Mom, further her career and, in 2005, she came back home to her roots – agriculture.

"We farmed full time. Daddy (the late Ronnie Norman) farmed cotton, peanuts, corn and tobacco. In the later years, he grew a lot of cabbage and cucumbers," recalls the Colquitt County Extension agent. "I'm so thankful for that heritage of growing up on a farm and learning that responsibility and hard work pay off."

Scarrow left Moultrie in the early 1980's to attend Toccoa Falls College where she earned a degree in Bible and theology with a concentration in counseling. There, she met her husband Steve. The two married, moved to North Carolina to work in youth ministry and expanded their family with the addition of a son.

Next, the family moved to Canada, Scarrow's husband's homeland, where Steve finished his graduate studies in intercultural ministry. Then, the family moved to Texas where Scarrow studied Spanish at the Rio Grande Language School.

"Our goal was to train Mexican pastors and leadership in our ministry so we needed to be completely fluent in Spanish," she said. The couple reached their goal and moved to Mexico where they became missionaries working with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. They wrote training materials in Spanish and trained national church pastors as well as leaders working in marriage ministry.

"We finished our work in Mexico and turned the church leadership over to the locals. Basically, we worked ourselves out of a job," she laughs.

Scarrow returned to Moultrie with her family in tow. She is now surrounded by family. Her mother lives here, one of her brothers is a farmer here and another brother is a business owner here.

"We came home in a transition mode. We realized how much the county had changed. There is such a huge Hispanic population. Back in the 70s, we had migrant workers, but by 2005, the migrant population had increased by 180 percent," she said.

Steve began pastoring a church in Moultrie, and Andrea began making connections to the Latino community. "We began a bilingual publication and that led me to the Extension office. I used their articles to bring educational pieces to the Hispanic publication," she said.

At the time, Colquitt and Tift Counties were racked by a number of crimes, including murders, against the Hispanic population. Working under a Georgia Appleseed grant, Scarrow began working with the Colquitt and Tift County Extension offices as a FACS agent.

"My job was to help Hispanics get banked so that they wouldn't carry cash and be subject to home invasions and robberies. The job was a perfect fit because it combined my Latino interest and my love of Extension from having grown up on a farm. Debbie Purvis and Judy Bland already had a client support base built for these programs so with their help and guidance, the programs just really took off."

In 2009 when Debbie Purvis retired, Scarrow became a fulltime FACS agent in Colquitt County. She focused on financial literacy "across the board" to all audiences. She also teaches home buyer education classes.

Andrea ScarrowScarrow's favorite part of her job is "helping local folks" by training food service providers how to prepare foods safely and childcare providers how to properly care for children. "It's very rewarding and I know that it impacts lives in my county. Because of my background in counseling and church ministry, I really enjoy working with families on youth relationships and healthy marriages," she said.

When asked what she does in her freetime, Scarrow asked, "What freetime?" "Every waking hour I'm not at work, I'm working with our church. We do a lot of traveling and will soon head to the Dominican Republic to train national church leaders at a prayer conference. I save up all my annual leave to do this because I love it."

(Written by Sharon Dowdy, a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Released June 2011.