Inspiring the Valley: Break the Barriers is where disabilities become abilities

Inspiring the Valley

For 37 years, there’s been a place in Fresno where barriers are broken every day, and those who’ve been told they can’t, show they can.

The Break the Barriers performance team has performed all over the world, not only showcasing young people’s many talents, they are showing the world that one person’s disability is another’s ability.

“We say the magic is in the mixture because when you have a mixture of all different types of abilities, you don’t see disability,” says Rachael McCall, gymnastics director.

You see what McCall is talking about watching a performance team rehearse for an upcoming performance, you’ll marvel at their abilities.

McCall started taking dance and gymnastics at Break the Barriers when she was seven-years-old – her mom signed her up.

“It was definitely different at first, but the coaches were so good here pointing out everyone’s abilities like to the point where after a while it was just a difference like, I have brown eyes, you have blue eyes,” she says.

That attitude made it easy for McCall to adapt to a new way of performing. A few years ago she suffered a knee injury. Now, the only way she can perform is in a wheelchair.

“That means the world to me because I believe this is my purpose right now, to serve on this team,” she says.

Break the Barriers was founded by Steve and Deby Hergenrader as a place where all people could come and participate in sports and other activities.

“We call this place an ability center because we focus on what you can do, and not what you can’t,” says Kyle Carlson, programs director

Carlson says it’s about making each and every individual feel like they are no different than anyone else.

“We want you to know that you are beautiful the way you are, the way you were made and let’s find out what you can do,” he says.

Break the Barriers has programs ages toddlers to adults.

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