How a Few Seconds Can Turn a Fear into a Strong Foundation of Courage
If you’ve been following along on our social media, you know that the next big thing at enCourage Kids Foundation is our world record setting event, Breaking Barriers. On May 11, 2017, martial arts master and current world record holder Leif Becker will make history as he attempts to set a new world record for the most boards broken in a 24 hour period. Hosted at Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in the heart of Times Square, Leif will attempt to break 12,000 boards – all to benefit enCourage Kids.
Breaking Barriers truly showcases the bravery of kids and families fighting illnesses. We believe that each board broken represents the physical or medical challenges that sick kids live with every day. By breaking the boards, Leif represents the ability to overcome such barriers. Because at enCourage Kids, we believe that boards – like barriers – are meant to be broken.
On February 13th, we visited the Child Life Zone at Mt. Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital with Leif to kick off our Breaking Barriers campaign. Leif and enCourage Kids Executive Director Michele Hall-Duncan had the opportunity to talk with some of the pediatric patients about breaking through their personal barriers and Leif’s attempt to set a new world record on May 11th.
Kids from the pediatric unit decorated wood boards representing their medical challenges or fears that they face while being in the hospital. “We had an opportunity before the visit to work with our patients and families and talk about their personal barriers or challenges,” explained Cheryl Strauss, Child Life Specialist and Zone Clinical Coordinator. Self-doubt, being alone, shyness, and “I want to be cured from cancer,” were some of the many created.
Leif was then featured breaking the boards on KidZone TV, a state-of-the-art, interactive production and internal broadcast studio within the children’s hospital. Patients had the opportunity to call in to the show from their rooms to ask both Leif and Michele questions about board breaking and enCourage Kids Foundation. We are thrilled to support KidZone TV and other projects that take place at Mt. Sinai’s Child Life Zone through our Pediatric Hospital Support Program. “It really develops a community for kids who may otherwise feel alone and isolated. Our programming has really created a therapeutic companionship for many of our patients,” Cheryl shared.
When a young caller from the inpatient unit excitedly asked, “when are you going to break boards?” it was finally time for the demonstration. Leif lined all the boards up and with a count-down led by the kids in the audience, broke all of boards in half within seconds. The children’s faces were filled with smiles and pure joy as Leif physically broke through their fears and challenges. Leif took this hospital visit as an opportunity to ensure these children that their barriers do not define them and that they have the power to break through them every day.
We kicked off Breaking Barriers by bringing a special portion of it to Mt. Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital, where not only boards were broken, but so were the barriers of hospitalized children. After breaking the boards, Leif posed for photos with the patients and wrote words of encouragement on their now-broken boards. Patients left with both a memorable keepsake and a boost of hope and courage that they too can break through their barriers.