BE Modern Man: Meet “The Specialist” Aaron D. Harris

Advocating for youth is more than a job, it's a mission

(Image: Digital Memoirs Productions, LLC)
(Image: Digital Memoirs Productions, LLC)

Name: Aaron D. Harris

Profession: Youth Development Specialist

Age: 35

One Word That Describes You: Resilient

Although he grew up without a father, Aaron D. Harris vowed that when he had his own children he would be the guiding force that was missing in his childhood. Today, he helps other young people without fathers.  Advocating and working with youth in the most challenging areas in and around Washington, D.C., Harris sees parts of himself in their eyes. “I would watch as some of these young men would walk around with anger and frustration in their hearts,” says Harris. “I remember what it was like to have that feeling of hopelessness. I had to constantly tell myself that if I just ‘hold the rope’ long enough, my situation can change.”

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Keeping a tight grip on the rope can be even more challenging for youth when educators, school administrators, and executives don’t have faith  in them. “I find myself having to learn to navigate through the politics of the work in order to serve those most in need. It is a challenge, but anything worth achieving is worth fighting for.”

For Harris, navigating through the politics meant getting to the ‘ground level’ so he can impact the lives of the individuals he serves. On a consistent basis he made it a priority to reach the youth where they are: in the streets. “Far too often we are behind our desks writing grants or attending professional functions, advocating for individuals who, in some cases, we barely know,” Harris tells BE Modern Man. “ I think the ‘decision makers’ in this world need to learn more about the individuals they are governing. It makes the work more human, and will make people think about the well-being of the people they serve, and not just about their bottom-line.”

Read the rest of Aaron’s story at BE Modern Man.



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