Impact Story: The Pierce Family
We would like to introduce you to the Pierce Family! This amazing family has a huge impact on what we do here at Rising Above Ministries, as Chris has been on staff for several years as the Director of Community and Outreach and her husband, Rob, also works for us part time as the Men’s Ministry Assistant. We know you will enjoy hearing their story and how we have been blessed to be a part of it along the way.
Tell us a little bit about the members of the Pierce family and what you all enjoy doing together…
We are Rob and Chris Pierce. We have been married for 29 years and have 4 children and 2 daughters-in-law. Brian is 25 and is married to Jenna, David is 23 and married to Anna, Courtney is 23, and Alenis is 22. As a family, we have enjoyed camping, hiking, and sports. Our favorite family vacations are going to Daytona Beach Shores, FL. Brian and Jenna have recently moved to NC, but the rest of our family lives in Cookeville, TN.
Which member of your family has special needs?
Our youngest daughter, Alenis, was born deaf. She also struggles with ADHD, anxiety, and educational delays. Courtney also struggles with ADHD and has had to overcome educational delays. Both girls joined our family in 2004 in foster care. We later adopted Courtney and Alenis in 2006.
What was your response to your child’s diagnosis? Your spouse’s response? How did it affect your other children?
We knew at the time of placement about the deafness, ADHD and educational delays, but knowing about it and living in it are two different things. The first thing that we had to do is learn sign language. Once Alenis had a way to communicate, she was less frustrated. Adjusting to impulse behaviors and hyperactivity was challenging at first. Brian and David made the adjustment very well. We did try to allow for one on one time with each of the 4 children so each would have a break from the other 3.
How did you first learn about Rising Above?
I actually heard about Rising Above through a volunteer need for the first Rising Above Vacation Bible School 10 years ago. I volunteered to plan and execute VBS and was able to bring Alenis with me. It was such a joy that I began volunteering regularly. My family often came and helped with the different events and participated in them as well. Six years ago I came on staff part time and then 2 years ago became full time. Rob has recently joined the staff on a part time basis as the Men's Ministry Assistant.
Are there specific Rising Above events that your family enjoys?
My job at Rising Above is planning all the events, so I will have to say I love all of them! Rob gets to volunteer for everything. He does all the behind the scene setting up, breaking down and hauling all the supplies back and forth. If I had to guess, I would say his favorite event is the Fall Festival because he doesn't have to transport any supplies at all! My kids have always enjoyed volunteering for the Easter Eggstravaganza, The Heroes' Ball, and Night to Shine. Alenis's favorite event to attend is Night to Shine.
How has Rising Above impacted your life?
Rising Above has changed our families understanding of the special needs community. We were thrust into the deaf and hard of hearing word, with very little "community". We would get the strange looks from people in the stores when Alenis would make loud noises. Friends stopped inviting us to do things out or at their homes because the ADHD is pretty severe. They were into EVERYTHING! At Rising Above, we were able to enjoy fun activities, without judgement and stares. We made many new friends and could laugh about situations that happen in every day life that other people just didn't understand. Rising Above has also impacted my children in such a positive way. All of my kids have such a compassion when it comes to individuals with special needs. They are not fearful or judgmental, instead, they embrace the individuals. They enjoy interacting and really getting to know every person regardless of ability level.
We are grateful for so many donors and volunteers who make stories like this a reality every day. Your partnership makes it possible for us to continue to pursue our mission of bringing the love of God and hope in Christ to special-needs families in the Upper Cumberland, across the nation, and around the world.