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International team presents message through abilities

As a way to show their appreciation towards FC for volunteering for the buddy program, The Break the Barriers (BTB), put on a performance for the entire student body and faculty, March 21. With over twenty performers, the Barrier Breakers excited the crowd with their unique abilities and skills.

The mentorship program started to inspire students at FCHS and BTB to show that they really are more alike than different. This traveling team has been all around the world in places like South Africa, Dominican Republic, and India performing their saying, “The Magic is in the Mixture.”

Co-founder of BTB Deby Hergenrader started the nonprofit organization in 1985 when her dream to create programs including sports, gymnastics, and self-defense classes could be combined with people who had different abilities. Having BTB was like a gift from God according to Hergenrader.

“BTB is an answer to prayers from my family and from the prayers of many families,” Hergenrader sad. “It started 29 almost 30 years ago and we had no idea that we would be in this special place like we are in today. We pray about every movement so that what we do honors God. We try honoring God through our dance and just being true to who we are.

BTB is referred to as an ability awareness program, showing that people with disabilities or special needs are similar to people without either of the two. In some cases, those with disabilities can do more than any average person can do.

“All the things about ability and trust and faith and believing that we were created perfect for the purpose of God is a virtue everyone should live by,” Hergenrader said. “There is no problem that people with disabilities experience the words cerebral palsy, blindness, or learning needs, what the problem is that we look at them as different. Rather in some cases it would take ability to accomplish something for an average person.”

Son of Deby Hergenrader, Tyler Hergenrader has been a part of the team since the beginning and has been able to see the work that BTB has accomplished not only locally, but also around the world. Having the Christian atmosphere here at FC, the BTB performers were able to do their complete routine which they would not usually be able to do at a public school.

“Being a part of the BTB team is amazing,” Tyler said. “My parents started BTB so it’s amazing to see how is started and what it is today. It’s a blessing to come and perform for a school like FC because at other schools we can’t talk about God or do the ‘I Can Only Imagine’ routine. It’s a blessing to be a part of it and it is hard to be a prideful person when you are in a facility like BTB.”

Terra Lynch is associated with BTB being the Co-Director of the Sign Language classes and a member of the International Barrier Breaker Team. With a disability, Lynch does not see it as a setback, but instead values it and uses it to administer to people.

“God has brought amazing opportunities into my life because I have a disability,” Lynch said. “My disability has helped show people to Jesus because I lean on him everyday. It is because of my disability that I can say I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Disability and I work together for the glory of God.”

As the FC students sat in the bleachers, Lynch felt obligated to speak her testimony. Even with the fear of speaking in front of people, Lynch has learned to let God speak through her.

“I love being on this team; I wouldn’t trade it for the world because we are a family,” Lynch said. “Public speaking is my worst fear, so this time I really had to let go of my fleshly desires of the fear that I had and let God speak through me. Honestly, I would not be able to do it, he did it through me.”

Eleven year old gymnast Angelia Young was one of the main kids who were part of the stunts and tosses during the routines. Being in gymnastics her entire life, Young has learned to be comfortable flying through the air because she knows that her dad is always supporting her.

“It feels great being a part of this team because we get to share ability outreach and show that everyone, even if they have disability, can do all things,” Young said. “When we perform, it’s really scary being tossed in the air, but I know my dad is going to catch me at all times because he is also on the team with me.”

Michael Brockman, one of the gymnasts and workers at BTB shares that because of being a part of this program, has not only changed himself as a person and but has allowed him to also see God. With housing issues, Brockman found a home with Dan Harris, the science teacher at FC, and his wife Megan.

“When I started BTB I wasn’t even a Christian and now I am getting baptized this Easter,” Brockman said. “Looking back at the picture, it’s amazing how everything happened. With moving problems, I ended up staying here with people at BTB, Dan and Megan Harris. It’s just been a blessing; it’s amazing what God has done with me at BTB.”

Junior Brieann Winchell was awed by the memorable production that BTB showed for FC. According to Winchell, the remarkable show moved her in ways she never would have thought.

“I thought the performance was amazing, it was definitely something I wasn’t expecting,” Winchell said. “I thought the little girl, {Angelia Young} who was flying the majority of the time, had to be the most bravest girl I have ever seen. You could tell from the look on her face that she was having a lot of fun doing it.”

Having been a part of the buddy program at BTB, Winchell has been given the chance to grow relationships with the kids and staff there. Even though Winchell was to be mentoring the students at BTB, she feels that they have been the ones who changed her.

“I’m really proud of the kids over there, they don’t realize how good they are so when they say, ‘I can’t do this’ and I think that they are pretty good being their age and the things that you can do and are learning,” Winchell said. “I love having the opportunity to go there and encourage them, because I believe that they are very special kids and that they are going to achieve a lot in life. I think that they have taught me more than I did teaching them.”

Garrent Hill, ’15, like Winchell, was astonished by the performance and amazed at the talent that each person held. Not only was the routine extraordinary, but Hill also appreciated the message that went along with it.

“I thought the performance was great, I was really surprised to see what all the kids did and to see how talented they really are,” Hill said. “Overall it was a great thing to see and having them preach the word of God and Christ through their abilities. I loved when they said abilities not disabilities because I remember doing BTB and seeing these kids I know that they don’t have disabilities, they only have extra abilities.”

FC and BTB are in a partnership together and will both benefit from the Tim Tebow conference. The ‘Inspire Gala’ video was presented before the assembly began. This allowed the FC student and Barrier Breakers to come together and watch the promo video for the upcoming event.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @kaitie_king. Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more features, read the March 21 article, Heritage trip bonds music groups through group events (VIDEO).

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