ST. CLOUD -- Growing up in a household surrounded by drugs and alcohol, St. Cloud Police Officer Talisha Barlow knew she wanted a different future. Now she is sharing her story with others looking to chase their dreams.

Barlow was the keynote speaker at Thursday's event, From a Dreamer to an Achiever: One Woman's Story, put on by the St. Cloud State University Women's Center.

She says no matter what your family situation is like, you don't have to be another statistic.

"Domestic violence, alcoholism, and drug addiction, those are a battle people fight every day. But as long as you can keep pushing an see that life doesn't have to be for you, you can do anything you want to do," says Barlow.

Barlow, a St. Cloud State Alum, has been working for the police department for just over three years. She also is St. Cloud's first African American female officer.

She says she hopes to be that support for younger generations like so many were for her growing up.

"The mentors I had at SCSU or in my life supporting me, that's what I hope to be to the community. That's why I love these speaking engagements, especially at schools, because it's all about the kids," says Barlow.

Barlow was recently honored by the Minnesota Women's Consortium for her professional achievements and commitment to the community.

She hopes her story will encourage others for continue to strive for their goals.