Today we’d like to introduce you to Anyé Young.
Hi Anyé, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’m a rising Junior currently attending the University of Southern California. I am majoring in Dramatic Arts and minoring in Cinematic Arts. I am also serving as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion chair at the California Gamma Chapter of Pi Beta Phi.
On Father’s Day 2018, I self-published my first book to offer a glimpse into my life as a teenager coping with a father serving a 12-year prison sentence. Teen Guide to Living With Incarcerated Parents (#TGLWIP) shares my personal stories and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I wanted to motivate and inspire children and young adults experiencing parental incarceration so that they can overcome the shame and embarrassment they may feel as a result of social stigma. TGLWIP also aims to help the caregivers gain a better understanding of the challenges their children face.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There are many obstacles and challenges I’ve encountered being an advocate and international public speaker for topics surrounding parental incarceration. Anxiety and burnout are two main challenges I constantly need to keep in check so I can continue to carry out my work. While I always manage to get everything done, I am a serial procrastinator and I know this just comes from the internal anxiety I associate with transformative events in my life. Change can sometimes invoke a sense of fear and so a common defense mechanism I’ve noticed in me is avoidance. This is why I’m so grateful to have supportive parents, friends, and mentors that will always hold me accountable. Sometimes I need a little push for me to feel like I’m going in the right direction.
Some other challenges I’ve experienced include guiding projects, practicing vulnerability, and staying humble but still confident in my work. Projects can, at times, be very tricky to navigate but they’re important because this is the real meat and potatoes of my work in advocating for children of incarcerated parents. Projects, no matter how big or small, help you keep up that momentum. Guiding projects takes a lot of courage and you have to trust yourself to make big decisions about how you would like to see things get done. I feel like over the years, this has taught me a lot about how to stand my ground.
Practicing vulnerability has become very central to the way I present myself, the way I write, and the way I speak to people. I used to be a lot more closed off as a person until I realized how much more people invested in me when I was open about what I was going through because I could make more meaningful connections with my peers. Considering the social stigma that surrounds parental incarceration, it was especially helpful for me to come to terms with my circumstances instead of feeling ashamed for the things I have no control over.
Staying humble but confident is something that I have not yet mastered, I will admit. It’s very difficult for me to internalize my own accomplishments. So much so that I find myself oftentimes downplaying the great things I’ve done for myself and others. I think this comes from my very real imposter syndrome. It’s like as much as I can work my butt off for a keynote speech or publish a book, I still sit back and I’m like, “Wow, did I really just do that?”. And, to never come off as arrogant or boastful, I can sometimes withhold information about what I do when I’m around new people. But you’re not doing yourself any favors by hiding what makes you unique or special. You have to own the truth about who you are and what you’re capable of to be secure in yourself. That’s something I’m still working on but I’ll get there!
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I offer #TGLWIP as a guide for young people who are determined to succeed in life no matter their circumstances. The book is available on my website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other mobile platforms. Learn more by visiting www.AnyeYoung.com or by contacting my public relations team at info@AbovePrestigePR.com.
I am also currently in pre-production for my first documentary film called “For Kids Like Me”. This project is dedicated to teens and young adults who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Those featured in the film found the courage inside of themselves and, with support from their village, put others first as they advocate for reform in sentencing laws. “For Kids Like Me” gives children with incarcerated parents a larger platform to share their stories while empowering other teens and young adults. “For Kids Like Me” is a digital love letter for children with incarcerated parents seeking to break the vicious cycle of mental health neglect and self-doubt.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
My advice for anyone just starting out would be to 1) Practice self-care to help alleviate the pressures of anxiety and burnout, 2) Speak up for yourself and stand your ground, 3) Know how to ask for help when you need it. Don’t let your pride block your blessings. And 4) Stay human.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: anyeyoung.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anye.young/
- Facebook: Facebook.com/TheRealAnye
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/_anyeyoung_