Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yvonne Pierre: Walking Through Fear By Faith to Recognize Those with Down Syndrome

by Cyrus Webb

Many of us are aware of October being recognized for Breast Cancer Awareness month, but how many know it is also the month for Down Syndrome Awareness as well?

For writer/director/radio personality and mother of two Yvonne Pierre this is something she recognizes not just in October but year round. Her son Zyon has Down Syndrome, and through her own journey she has not just been able to discover more about what's important in life for herself but others as well. Because of this she has created The Rise Awards, an opportunity to spotlight and recognize those with Down Syndrome that are doing amazing things.

"One of the things that I learned early on was to tell my story and things I've overcome," she shared with me recently. "Having a child with Down Syndrome has opened my eyes to wanting more and redefining what life and the meaning of purpose is. Being a mom has made me look at life differently."

As an individual in the public Yvonne has addressed the issue of fear in her professional life and the effects it can have on us all. "It is about realizing that it's much bigger than me," she says. "It's a human thing to fear. For some it stops them, but I focus on the bigger picture. I think the fear bothers me most when I focus on me. I have to focus on the substance of what it is I'm doing."

She sees The Rise Awards as a thank you for the examples that individuals with Down Syndrome are being for all of us. "It's acknowledging and letting the world see them and see their stories. There's a huge misconception of what people with Down Syndrome are able to accomplish. A lot of people told me what my own son couldn't accomplish and what he'll never do. I came across these powerful stories of individuals with Down Syndrome doing great things. We often measure people's intellect based on their ability to read, but not being able to read doesn't define where you can go in life."

Yvonne says that those with Down Syndrome have talents that range from music, art, dance and so much more. "I want to show the different colors of Down Syndrome and not the perception."

This year's Rise Awards will take place Friday, November 7, 2014 at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center (3181 Rainbow Dr, Decatur, GA 30034). This year's honorees are Bernadette Resha, Sean Sieleni, Sujeet Desai, Dhahran Hart, Gloria Huerta, Jr., Grace Carter, Haile King Rubie, Meagan Stacey and Olivia Brosseau.

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