Meet Our Program Facilitator: Caleb Barnhart

Could we get some brief biographical information from you? Hometown, previous experience, education, etc.?

I was born and raised in Raleigh, NC, and have battled with addiction from ages 14 to 24. Throughout that period, I had a lot of experience with institutionalized treatment programs, going to different treatment centers in Texas, Colorado, North Carolina and Georgia.

Currently, I’m a Senior at North Carolina State University majoring in Digital Media and Communication, where I try to focus on substance abuse disorders and recovery. After working as a soccer and swim coach for a few years, I joined the Green Hill team as one of its first Program Facilitators, and have been part of the team ever since.

In sobriety, I’ve found a passion both for physical fitness and photography, which I really enjoy sharing with our residents.

What first made you want to work for Green Hill?

Growing up in Raleigh, I’ve always seen a need for a recovery home in the capital. Unfortunately, when I was trying to get sober, I had to leave my hometown to receive treatment. I was volunteering in the community when I heard Green Hill was opening. As soon as I was introduced to Tripp, I knew that I would be a good fit for the program. Having spent a significant portion of my early adulthood battling addiction, I find it very rewarding to help guys in this age range. I feel uniquely qualified to help them with the issues that young men with substance abuse disorders face in early sobriety.

What keeps you coming back day after day?

The residents and my coworkers. I know what it is like to feel like just another number in a treatment system. I like to think that, since I have been in their shoes, I have a unique responsibility to make them feel seen and heard while going through our program.

As for my coworkers, I have never been a part of such a supporting and energetic community. I am very proud to be a member of this team.

If Green Hill had a talent show today, what would you be doing on the main stage?

Definitely a duet drag show with Program Coordinator Jay Bylund. Ideally accompanied by a song by Peaches.

Also, I would like to make a short film called “Halfway” that shows the human and empathetic elements of getting sober in a facility. Hopefully, highlighting the strong interpersonal relationships that are formed when recovering together. I believe that changing the social stigma at large is an important part of the process of recovery; plus, I just love being behind a camera.

Favorite spot to visit in Raleigh?

This is a tough question. Raleigh is a great city, and I have a lot of favorite spots, as a photographer. I love the bridge over the highway that connects the trails behind the NC Art Museum for sunset, but Red Hat Amphitheater is an amazing venue in the center of downtown that is hard to beat. 

What’s one memory you’ll always carry with you from your time here at Green Hill?

I will always remember our ski trip to SnowShoe mountain! I had a blast seeing some of our guys really feel alive for the first time in a while. One of the coolest parts of my job is to see a resident really laugh, smile, and get lost in an activity. As a photographer, I can’t help but juxtapose these ‘images’ in my mind next to the look of pain and defeat when residents first enter our program.

Anything else you’d like the community at large to know?

I also work on the marketing and admissions team. While my primary role is as a Program Facilitator, I also talk to most residents before they come to Green Hill. I am able to give them a better understanding of what a day in the life is like for residents. It’s helpful for our residents to feel like they already have a more down to earth connection with one of our staff members before they arrive. 

What’s one message you’d wish our residents would always carry with them?

Find out who you are, what you love, and the people that support that. The rest will fall into place.

Who has had the largest impact on your personal and/or professional development? 

My Dad, Frank Barnhart. Also the Green Hill team, Tripp Johnson, Nick Slovak, Jay Bylund, and Jake Summers.

If you could give a new Green Hill Program Facilitator one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Your main job is to be a cheerleader. Be every resident’s biggest fan.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

Keep your mind where your feet are at. The more we get ahead of ourselves, the more complex life appears. Reminding myself to be present is an important part of my recovery. 

What is one thing your hometown could be known for?

Home of the Dreamville Music Festival

As the man behind the camera for Green Hill, who are your favorite photographers?

I love Haris Nukems work for his provocative subject matter, striking color profiles, and dramatic lighting. Something about british style has always been appealing to me.  

Peter Mckinnon is not only an amazing photographer and videographer, but also a teacher. I find his photography breathtaking and unique, but his videos have been very helpful in my own photography journey. 

Quick Facts about Caleb

Dream job as a kid?: National Geographic Photographer 

High school superlative: Loudest Laugh

Favorite podcast: Sam Harris or Joe Rogan podcast

Favorite movies: Guy Richie or Wes Anderson films

Top karaoke song choice: Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen

One book on a desert island: Red Rising by Pierce Brown