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Barriers explored, broken in local program

“I just wish there was a program that Billy could get involved in; he just feels so left out,” cried a mother to her husband as she was trying to get her mentally challenged son into the activities that other children were doing.

Break the Barriers is a program for physically challenged students or anyone wanting to excel in an aerobic activity. The program was started in a Fresno backyard in 1983 and expanded into a business in 1985.

The program includes gymnastics, martial arts, dance, sign language and art. The motto for Break the Barriers is “Where barriers are explored and broken; celebrating all levels of victories and achievements.”

The program has created special categories when they see a need for more students to be involved. Barrier Breakers is an organization designed for able or disabled to learn and demonstrate skills in gymnastics, juggling, baton twirling and other activities.

Internal programs include the Buddy Program which transports students every other week to learn from martial arts to sign language. Lastly they have a financial program called Secret Pocket, which allows students with economical difficulties to get private donations to complete their activities.

“My favorite part about the program is that everyone knows you there and they are all really friendly,” Scott Yantis, junior high student, said. “It also helps that everyone around you are Christians. Therefore, the activities and atmosphere create a really great environment.”

Junior high leadership was trying to think of a entertaining event to get the school excited about P.E. Yantis decided to arrange a visit from Break the Barriers demonstration team to come and perform a demo in martial arts in a special assembly on Feb. 20.

Break the Barriers has programs for all ages starting with three years old and up. Daniel Crosby, ’06, attends the program specializing in martial arts and has been apart of the group for three years.

“I love being able to excel in martial arts,” Crosby said. “It is really fun to work with very interesting people. It expands my horizons and helps me to better relate to others.”

Break the Barriers has a new location at 8555 N. Cedar Avenue at 559-432-6292. They have been in their new location since Jan. 5, 2004. Community and volunteer are accepted with a resum and applications.

For more information about Break the Barriers and their programs, visit online at www.breakthebarriers.org/btbbrbr.htm.

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