About the Awards


Less than 40 years ago, it was a common practice to institutionalize individuals with Down syndrome and various disabilities restricting their human rights to an education, resources and therapies needed. Today, over 90% of abortions are due to the detection of Down syndrome. Over 50% of children put into the adoption system are children with disabilities.

Too often we hear about limitations and things that persons with Ds are incapable of, but some are musicians, actors, painters, dancers, advocates, teacher assistants, college students, entrepreneurs and graduates. But these are the stories that are not often seen or heard. RISE is a platform that will be utilized to tell these stories and further spread positive awareness.

The RISE Awards was created to to enlighten and inspire the audience of the achievements of individuals with Down syndrome by highlighting and celebrating the stories of the honorees.   In addition, we give recognition to those who are making a difference in the Down syndrome (Ds) community.




Yvonne Pierre is a compassionate advocate that is dedicated to using her voice and talents to create projects that will make a difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome.  Her passion for advocating started in 2005 when her son Zyon, who has Down syndrome, was transitioning out of early intervention and into early pre-k, public school.  Yvonne began to question what other parents’ experiences were and she sought out online support groups.  After reading several posts from parents, Yvonne was devastated by what she read by parents who were struggling to cope with having a child with Down syndrome.  She immediately started seeking out uplifting stories and read about the achievements of individuals with Down syndrome.  This was the birth of “Have Ya Heard” a website she launched in 2005.  Today, Yvonne interview parents, professionals and individuals with special needs to share their stories and expertise on INNERviews on HYH.

Yvonne is an award-winning writer.  She is a proud wife and loving mother of two sons – Zyair (age 21) and Zyon (age 12).  Her youngest son, Zyon, was diagnosed with Down syndrome after birth.  Yvonne began advocating through various projects in 2005 and continues her tireless efforts to uplift and inspire, as well as advocate through projects for the special needs community. Yvonne has written a book, “The Day My Soul Cried” released in 2010 and is available on Amazon.  She has also written, produced and directed the stage play “Then You Stand” that was held at the 14th Street Playhouse in 2012.  “Then You Stand” is a story about a woman who learned her unborn baby has Down syndrome.  Also, in 2012 she penned the award-winning short film, “Never Alone”.   Yvonne hosted and produced her own syndicated talk show, “The Yvonne Pierre Show” that she launched in 2007. Yvonne holds four degrees: two Associates in Accounting and Business Management, Bachelors in Marketing and an Executive Masters of Business Administration (MBA).   Yvonne Pierre is the CEO of Y Pierre Productions which launched in 2012.  Y Pierre Productions is a limited liability company that creates film and stage productions that uplift, inspires and informs.  For more details, www.ypierre.com.