ANYE'S STORY ~ HOLIDAY SEASON: BITTERSWEET

Anye Young - HeadShot.jpg
Talking about this trauma is the first step to our healing: I feel that I owe myself and my father this service. I use my voice in order to help others find theirs. I sincerely believe that we have strength in numbers. We, the children with incarcerated parents, who are empowered enough to speak up, have no limit to the changes we can bring to prison systems throughout the world. I am happy to contribute to the We Got Us Now: Our Voices series by sharing my truth.

My name is Anyé Young.. I'm 16 years old, a senior in high school, and an honors student. My father has been in prison serving a 12-year sentence since I was 9 years old. This is my truth.

I’ve had to spend numerous Thanksgivings, Christmases, and Father’s Days without him. He is serving his time in North Carolina --- a 6 to 7 hour drive away. Most people could only imagine how it feels to only be able to see their parent for 2 hours at a time; two to three times a year. Or, not being able to have a conversation with their parent for longer than a 15-minute phone call every week. Yet, this is my truth.

I understand that pain because I’m still having to go through it every day. Now, I am a teen who is aware and who knows first-hand the lasting and devastating effects of parental incarceration. I look for opportunities to share my story and hopefully help other children who have a parent in prison. This is one of the main reasons why I wrote #TGLWIP: a book that offers a glimpse into what we children go through when we have an incarcerated parent. My book also helps the caregivers who remain, like my Mom, to deal with and attempt to understand why we kids feel and react the way that we do. Especially, when we have to experience numerous Christmases and Thanksgivings without having both parents present. The impact that parental incarceration has on children tends to go unnoticed. But it’s something that needs to be talked about in order to bring about change in our criminal justice system. We must speak up and continue the conversation to see change.

I stand with WE GOT US NOW’s mission of “Engaging, Educating, Elevating and Empowering children and young adults impacted by the trauma, stigma and shame of parental incarceration”.

I look forward to continuing my own personal mission of bringing us forgotten children to the forefront and shedding light on injustices in prison systems all over the nation. The fact that my father is currently in prison compels me to help stop the cycle of neglect of us children from broken households. By using the voices we’ve been given, I am confident that we children can bring a stop to the trend of mass incarceration.

At 16 years of age and as senior in high school, Anyé Young offers a glimpse into her life as a teenager coping with life while her father is serving a 12-year prison sentence. Her self-help book, Teen Guide to Living With Incarcerated Parents (#TGLWIP) shares her personal stories along with tips and tricks she's learned while coping with the challenges of life away from her father and in a single-parent home. Anyé offers #TGLWIP as a guide for teenagers, like her, who are determined to succeed in life no matter the circumstances.