My friend Irene Hatziantoniou gave me a gift beyond compare when she invited me to attend the 25th Anniversary Gala Celebration of Yvonne Pointer’s Positive Plus Program: A Woman’s Worth with her last night.
Until Irene’s invitation, I had not yet heard about Yvonne Pointer and her work to end violence. So I Googled her. I learned that 26 years ago, Yvonne’s oldest daughter, 14 year-old Gloria, was abducted, raped and murdered. This crime has never been solved.
Although it would have been completely understandable to be crushed by her loss, Yvonne made it her mission in life to do everything she could to prevent that from happening to anyone else. She calls it One Pointer, One Passion, One Purpose.
To say that Yvonne’s obstacle was huge is an understatement. The loss of any child is an unbearable grief ~ the loss of your child to violence is a soul-crushing devastation.
Not only was Yvonne’s soul not crushed ~ when you meet her, you are enveloped in her Light ~ her work in the world has lifted up the souls of other parents of murdered children and paved a way out of violence for millions of people. Yvonne is the essence of Powerful Presence ~ she lives it, breathes it and calls it forth from others.
Everyone who spoke last night told us that it was impossible to say no to Yvonne ~ everyone was looking for ways to say yes to her. This is a woman whose entire life is about being in action for a purpose that only she can fulfill. By keeping her thoughts on what she could do instead of what she couldn’t, she brought about what she thought about, including:
- life for the children of other mothers
- peace and purpose for the parents of children who were lost
- contributions of talent and resources from millions to support her vision, her work in the world
Because her Gloria was lost, Yvonne made sure that millions of others were saved. The gala last night celebrated the power, energy and vision that one woman in action can inspire in others.
I left the gala last night transformed by the amount of Powerful Presence in that hotel ballroom. The three things that affected me the most were these:
- Keynote Speaker Phyllis Stickney reminded us that each of us is the living reflection of some Mother’s love ~ whether it was your biological mother or some woman who mothered you ~ who, because she knew her own worth, had the power to show you yours. “You can’t love others if you don’t love you.” The reflection of the power of Yvonne Pointer’s love filled the room to overflowing.
- Ohio Lt Governor Lee Fisher spoke of his 25 year-relationship with Yvonne and the power of her impact on the lives of other parents of murdered children in Ohio. He shared with us the Native American proverb: “The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.” Yvonne Pointer has filled the planet with rainbows out of her tears.
- One of the honorees was Gloria Pointer’s basketball coach. Yvonne told us that Gloria wanted to play basketball, even though she “sucked” at it. Yvonne and the coach talked about it and they decided to let Gloria put on a uniform and run up and down the court ~ she just wouldn’t get the ball passed to her. Yvonne told us about the impact of basketball practice on Gloria: her marks went up, she stood taller and she walked prouder. The practice transformed her. Gloria died the day before her first scheduled game. One of the things Yvonne created is the Gloria Pointer Basketball Scholarship ~ not for the girls who are stars in the making. This scholarship is for the girls who “suck” and just want to be out there with the team–the girls who are willing to be transformed in action.
As you start your week today, I hope that Yvonne Pointer’s story will inspire you to look at every moment in your life as a gift ~ to look around you to see the abundance of grace and blessing that surrounds you.
Yvonne is living proof that you bring about what you think about, when you believe that you have what it takes and you’re willing to see the gift in every obstacle.