YBP Feature October 2017

The Young Black and Purposeful Feature Series will feature the profiles of people who exemplify what it means to be young, black, and purposeful in order to inspire and motivate others. If you know of anyone who fits that description please nominate them to be featured! Check out Aubrey's interview:

Aubrey Harrison is a fourth-year PhD student at George Washington University’s Clinical Psychology program. His research focused on racial discrimination, community violence exposure, temperament, and desensitization among African Americans. He also works as a psychotherapist, specializing in family and adolescent therapy. He is most passionate about working with African American males and providing mentorship to those who struggle to find their voice in society.

Q: How would you describe your purpose?
A: I believe the purpose God has placed in my heart is to work with Black/minority males on issues that have plagued them for far too long. I often find that many are dealing with the same issues that stem from a very young age but often various factors such as society, neighborhood, family, and friends conditioned them to only believe certain methods are the only ways to deal with those issues. Through faith, leadership, and mentorship I believe my role is to help them find their voice and find adaptive ways to express themselves.

Q: What areas of interest do you pursue beyond being a full-time doctoral student?
A: I love love love to cook and bake. I have found that cooking is my equivalent to someone painting. It’s an art and creating that experience for my family and friends is my way of sharing my art with them. I also cook and bake like an old grandpa. No recipes, just ingredients, and love. 

Q: How do you manage being a full-time doctoral student while also pursuing other passions?
A: One thing I heard when I first entered my program was self-care. It was such a foreign concept to me, but as I advanced I realized how important it was to engage in self-care daily. So the way that I manage that is scheduling that time for myself. I make sure I have time for my school obligations but I also give myself time for my passions. In addition, I have worked to combine my school obligations with my passions. Because those have begun to align it makes life that much easier. Enjoy what you do and it no longer feels like work.

Q: What do you hope to achieve in 10 years?
A: In 10 years I hope to open my own organization that provides therapy, mentorship, and networking for Black males of all ages and possibly take it nationwide. I also hope to have more speaking engagements where I believe I am reaching those communities and audiences that may not have a voice. Oh, and I hope to have a family of my own.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to figure out their purpose?
A: My advice for someone trying to figure out their purpose is to first pray about it. God really will show you what your calling is. Second, the person should write down all the things they love to do and how those things can impact larger communities. If they find that the two align I think you’ve begun to figure out your purpose. It may have to be adjusted or tailored a little bit but its inside of you. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is afraid to fully pursue their purpose?
A: For that person who is afraid to pursue their purpose. I get it! A lot of times you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but remember that light is there you just have to keep pushing. It’s also important to remember that in anything you do you’re taking a risk. Would you rather take a risk on something you don’t want even if the risk seems smaller, or take a risk on something you see as your purpose? We always find a way and if it's your purpose God will ALWAYS make a way. 

I want to extend my sincerest thanks to Aubrey for sharing his story to inspire others. Please check out his podcast, When Brothas Groupchat and follow him @h._aubrey or @chefboyaubrey on Instagram to follow his journey. 

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