With nonprofit’s help, disabled Concord man shows it’s never too late to learn

There’s nothing Bill Harwell likes more than a car trip, even a short one, and his caretakers know that better than anyone.

On a recent Friday, Drew Moore got Harwell, who is developmentally disabled, out of his Concord apartment and into the city library a short distance away. Harwell just turned 70 and only recently started connecting the letters and numbers he’s been learning in his apartment to the words and pictures he sees on the pages of The New York Times, Kids Scoop News or whatever other periodical he reads at the library’s round tables.

Moore said he noticed Harwell was reading the letters during a recent eye exam. Harwell’s openness to learn is a recent and gratifying development.

“It’s wonderful … there’s a significant change after all these years,” said Moore, a community support staff member with Lafayette-based Las Trampas Inc. He is one of eight Las Trampas staffers who alternate shifts with Harwell, who is accompanied 24 hours a day.

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