INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 7, 2015) – Pastors, professional athletes and parents of victims of gun violence all shared their stories about overcoming obstacles to families at the Little Bethel Baptist Church Saturday.
“We can either die from a bad situation or we can learn to live through it," DeAndra Yates, mother of DeAndre Knox said. "I remember someone telling me that when Dre was in the hospital bed and they sent me a song and it said, 'live through it.' And I placed that by Deandre’s hospital bed and said 'Son we are going to live through it.'”
Knox was shot in the back of head at a party on the city's northwest side February 1, 2014. Doctors told Yates that her son probably would not survive.
Knox is alive today and took his first steps after the shooting on September 31. He still can't talk, but is starting to respond to questions by nodding his head.
"He’s my hero," Yates said. "He’s shown me you can overcome most anything. And when I think about the surgeries and things he’s been through. I can do anything.”
Other speakers echoed Yates' message including former NFL wide receiver and Indianapolis native Corey Parchman. Parchman shared about his struggles losing his father as a child.
"Despite having a single parent household, you can still make it and be a successful man," he said.
He also talked about having to walk onto Ball State's football team and making it in the league as an undrafted rookie.
Kids at the expo took the messages to heart.
"I learned that there a lot of struggles going through (life) and you just have to get through it, because that’s all part of life," Warren Central High School student Richaun Stewart said.
Reverend Antwan Houser, CEO and founder of UPLIFT Indy, said teaching kids to overcome obstacles is part of the organizations mission and should help them become more successful in life.
"Our mission is to influence the future transformation of youth so they can better within in their homes churches community and schools as a whole," Houser said.
Yates said she is making it her personal mission to reduce crime in the city and avoid another tragedy like her sons.
“My mission now is to make sure not another boy pulls a trigger the way he did so recklessly the night on February 1," Yates said.