A Newtown, CT resident and martial arts champion Leif Becker vows to break 100,000 boards in 24 hours in Central Park to help raise funds for The REACH Foundation, a non-profit based in Connecticut.
When tragedy struck just minutes from his home in Newtown, Connecticut, martial arts champion Leif Becker was on day four of a journey to visit 12 non-profits in Manhattan over 12 days to help kids overcome barriers, a modern take on the 12 Days of Christmas.
The two-time world record holder in board-breaking was saluting their work by coming to learn, volunteer, and award the organization a black belt for helping their kids break through their barriers.
From Sept. 27-28, 2013, Leif Becker will attempt a new world record by breaking 100,000 boards in 24 hours in Central Park. A neighboring Connecticut non-profit, The REACH Foundation, will be working with Leif so that each board is registered on behalf of a child trying to overcome a barrier and is an opportunity to support kids and fund organizations that are helping them.
When the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened a few miles from his home, Leif decided that he needed to come home for a few days to comfort his family and grieve with his neighbors.
"It made me realize even more so the importance of what we're doing," says Becker. The stories he has been hearing from neighbors and childhood friends have only put more iron in his hands and sharpened his steely determination to do what has never been done before in way that will help hundreds of thousands of kids and help the organizations on the front lines of the barriers kids face every day.
After a few days at home, with a renewed seriousness to his training, Becker decided to continue his 12 visits to children's organizations.
Leif is inviting media to come with him and see in action the power of Breaking Barriers. Both Leif and The REACH Foundation took away from their visits so far, that the children truly are the real heroes. "To watch a child with autism run laps or dance, to play with inner city youths who have seen violence their whole lives shrug it off to play
basketball with strangers," says Leif, "it inspires me. The children are the fuel for what I'm doing."
"And we inspire each other, the kids who are breaking barriers make me more determined than ever to help bring their struggles badly needed attention and funding," Leif says. "And when they hear I'm planning to break 100,000 boards in 24 hours, first they disbelieve, then I walk them through the process of reaching that kind of goal — and 'snap' just like a board breaking I see in their eyes that wall of self-doubt drop away
and a sparkle in their eyes that says, 'If he can do that, I can do anything.'"
One little girl from the New York Cares Sports Explorers program, Denise, said, "I want to be part of Breaking Barriers. When I heard that Leif was going to break 100,000 boards, and all for kids like us, he's like a barrier hero coming to the rescue!"
"I know the exact feeling, says Becker who already holds two board breaking world records — 487 in one minute, and 140 in ten seconds. It is the reason I started breaking boards, not for strength, but to prove that I can do something my mind tells me is impossible."
"That's it," says Mark Wilson, founder and President of The REACH Foundation. "That is the gift that we want to give children across America, the realization that they can break through the barriers holding them back."
So far the Breaking Barriers "12 Days for Kids" has visited with New York Cares programs throughout the City and awarded honorary black belts to organizations tackling illiteracy, bullying (Hudson Guild), physical fitness (Sports Explorers), and disability awareness (Achilles Kids). Over the next three days we will be visiting organizations working with children to overcome the barriers of homelessness, academic performance, social activism, and civil rights.
John Moore, whose son has autism, said of the Breaking Barriers program, "For Max, Achilles Kids and New York Cares has been tremendous for us. A program like Breaking Barriers that will help to finance these programs we rely upon will have a huge impact for upon us, and the entire community."
"This 12 Days visit is just a start," Wilson says "A way to acknowledge that no one organization has all the answers for the barriers that children face, but that together we can help kids. We can make a life-changing difference through sharing our knowledge, harnessing the media attention, and raising funds — beginning with our official kick-off on January 10th and the final 24 hour board-breaking marathon in Central Park on September 27 and 28."
The actual Breaking Barriers Event next September will be an opportunity for kids mirroring Leif's journey as an inspiration to break their own barriers. They will have a chance to witness their hero accomplish his own near super human feat in person. It will be a celebration for families with a focus on guiding the children through fun activities
that challenge them to push past their limits. And it will be a premier opportunity for The REACH Foundation to bring national awareness for the work companies and nonprofits are doing for children's causes.
"We're hoping one of the morning or talk shows will partner with us at our launch to take the message of empowerment for young people to every corner of the country," says Mark Wilson of The REACH Foundation.
If you are interested in registering a board for your child, coming on as a partner organization, or helping as a corporate sponsor, visit breakingbarriersevent.com and help kids break through their barriers.
About The REACH Foundation
The REACH Foundation, based in Farmington, CT, is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded by Mark and Wendy Wilson in 2000 to help children in need - physically, socially, and financially. The REACH Foundation provides innovative programing to assist children, advocate on their behalf, and to improve their environment. The Foundation's mission is simple, "If in only one life, make a difference." For more information on The REACH
Foundation, visit thereachfoundation.org.
About Leif Becker
Leif Becker, a 5th Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do, is one of the most recognized Martial Artists of in the world of board breaking. He has been featured worldwide for his abilities and holds the world records as the Fastest Breaker - once breaking 487 boards in one minute with one hand, and on another occasion breaking 140 boards in under 10 seconds. In addition to his work within the martial arts community, Becker is the author of Breaking Barriers: Your Guide to Personal Mastery and travels both nationally and internationally as a frequent speaker and consultant on the topic of unlocking personal potential. For more information on Leif Becker, visit breakingbarriersevent.com.