I am so excited to introduce you to a wonderful lady and mother, Yvonne Pierre. Read more about Yvonne’s journey and her contributions to the special needs community.
Tell Us A Little About Yourself: I’m a proud wife and mom of two young men, Zyair (22) and Zyon (13). Zyon has Down syndrome and is the inspiration behind my advocacy efforts which started in 2005. I am a writer, producer and advocate.
Company or Blog Name:
RISE (formally Have Ya Heard)
Y Pierre Productions, LLC
Photo by: Tammy Mcgarity Photography
What would you like our readers to know about your business/blog and why you started it?
In 2004, my son Zyon was in the process of transitioning from early intervention into public school. The early intervention here in Metro Atlanta, GA is called Babies Can’t Wait. At the age of three, our children are aged out of early intervention and we were given the option of putting him into early Pre-K. Prior to this, I didn’t know of any parents of children with Down syndrome or smaller children in special education. I had a lot of questions that only other parents could answer.
At the time, the popular group site was Yahoo Groups. I joined several of them to network with parents. During that time, there wasn’t a lot of positive awareness. There was information, but not inspiration for parents. In these groups, I read posts that spelled out depression and hopelessness from some of the parents. So, I began to seek inspirational stories and share them. That was the birth of Have Ya Heard in 2005. I had NO idea what or how I was going to do it, but I felt these stories needed to get out. Over time, it took on different forms. I walked away from my passion and desire to be a storyteller to focus on advocacy. I didn’t see the connection, but now I do.
Over the years, Have Ya Heard transitioned from HYH Rise Awards to simply The RISE Awards. The RISE Awards honors those who are making a difference in the Down syndrome community. The vision to empower people through story didn’t change, the approach did. In 2011, I launched Y Pierre Production and my first production was Then You Stand (play), a fictional story about the journey of an expecting mother who found out her unborn has Down syndrome.
On October 15, I will be releasing a book entitled ZOEY. It’s a fictional short story about a mom who seems to have it all together, but privately struggling to accept Zoey, her daughter. Until a tragic accident forces her to recognize what really matters. Zoey’s available on Amazon.
Does your business/blog help other parents or children? Please explain.
I must admit, initially I didn’t think so. Sometimes, I wish I could do more, but when I feel that way, God sends someone to assure me that I’m on the right path and that it’s making a difference. One of the reasons, I started on this path was to lift the embarrassment and shame that I’ve seen parents have about their children. I believe empowering the parents helps them and their children.
What advice can you offer to other mothers who are looking to start a business/blog but are nervous to jumping in?
Starting something new and unfamiliar can be nerve-racking. Most, if not all, people who start a business and/or a new project gets nervous. Fear doesn’t have to be immobilizing. Preparation and focus on “why” I’m doing it usually relax my nerves. Often our nerves are based on the negative thoughts of what could go wrong. I had to learn to see things going wrong as a lesson, not a punishment. I had to learn to grow from my mistakes and see constructive criticism as a growth opportunity. Once I realized that my life, my journey is not about me, it was easier to walk through the fear. You can do it. JUMP!
What support do you receive to help you manage both family and work obligations? Does your family help you with your business?
Sometimes as moms we feel guilty taking time to ourselves. We feel that we have to juggle it all. And we do, but what I’ve learned is I don’t have to do it ALL at the same time. I still haven’t mastered balance. But luckily, Steffan (husband), two sons and I support each other. For example, if I need to lock myself in a room to get something done, they are very understanding. And I give them the same respect. I’m truly grateful to them and other family that I can call on when I need help with a project.
Where do you see your business/blog 5 years from now?
Five years from now, I hope the success of my company enables me to invest in solutions that will enrich and make a positive impact in the lives of those with disabilities worldwide.
Explain “one” of your proudest moments as a Mom?
It is hard for me to narrow it down to one moment. There are thousands of moments since both my sons were born. I’m proud of the caring, compassionate and talented young man Zyair (my oldest) has become. As for Zyon, if I had to narrow it down to one moment it would be this. When Zyon was about 2 years old, he didn’t speak clearly. I purchased some alphabet refrigerator magnets. Every day, I would go over the alphabets. I didn’t know what he was retaining, but I’d go over them anyway. One day, we were in the kitchen and I didn’t go over them. Zyon walked up to the refrigerator, pointed and started to say his alphabets. After a moment of shock and extreme excitement, I scrambled them up and pointed at random letters. He knew them. I cried with joy and pride. From then on, I realized Zyon understand a lot more than he could communicate. Over the years, there’s been many more moments like that, but I choose this moment because it was the first. I adore both of my sons. They are my inspiration.
So here is how you can follow this inspiring and powerful woman, and see what her next project will be: