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Ava St. Pierre knows what it's like to be a scared and helpless child growing up in a home affected by her mother's mental illness—an illness that resulted in violence toward her and six siblings.

She had no one to turn to and was forced to keep her shame, guilt, and condemnation wrapped up tightly in her soul. But Ava's indomitable spirit overcame her abusive childhood and while life was never easy, she used her God-given talents to become the best she could be.

Ava tells her powerful story in After The Storm: Breaking the Cycle of Abuse with Conviction, Connection and Compassion. The book, co-authored with daughter Sheree' Cogburn has also been made into an award-winning documentary short film that Ava wrote, edited, appeared in, co-directed and produced. Ava`s story illustrates how grace, forgiveness and God's unfailing love sets us free from our struggles so we may find the peace we seek.

As a multi-title beauty pageant holder, Ava St. Pierre learned how to achieve her best on stage with focus, vigour, poise and exquisite beauty. As a star athlete from age eleven, she learned how to optimize the power of physical strength and mental endurance. But for this gifted woman, life was rarely easy. Even as Ava witnessed her mother's steady decline, she chose instead to follow her father's lead—and live a life of genuine, empathic compassion and enlightenment, helping others survive after their own storm and speaking up for the helpless and haunted. Today, Ava is a powerful advocate for families and children affected by abuse.

After The Storm: Breaking the Cycle of Abuse with Conviction, Connection and Compassion is available at avastpierre.com.