Breaking Barriers A World Record Setting Event for enCourage Kids Foundation

“Breaking Barriers has been brought together to recognize and bring voice to the challenges children face on a daily basis."

”It is a creative application that opens the hearts and minds of children and invites them to explore the unlimited possibilities life has to offer when they have the courage to acknowledge and break through the challenges they face on a regular basis."

– Leif Becker | Martial Arts Master


EVENT PRODUCERMichele Hall-DuncanenCourage Kids Foundation

EVENT STRATEGISTMarc Brogdon – N2U Creative Marketing Group

VIDEO & DIGITAL CONTENT PRODUCERMichaela PotterWanderlust Productions

A World Record Setting Event for enCourage Kids Foundation

24 Hours | 12,000 Boards | Unlimited Courage

On Thursday, May 11, 2017 martial arts master Leif Becker Broke Barriers in support of the enCourage Kids Foundation by setting a new world record for the most boards broken in a 24-hour period.

Hosted at Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, Leif broke 12,120 boards in front of the nearly 360,000 visitors who pass through Times Square daily.

The event highlighted enCourage Kids Foundation message of courage, strength, and determination while showcasing the bravery of kids and families fighting illness. Each board broken represented the physical or medical challenges that sick kids live with every day.

Here's the story on how the campaign came together.

Kicking Off Breaking Barriers

enCourage Kids Foundation and Leif Becker partnered with Kravis Children's Hospital at Mt. Sinai to kick off our Breaking Barriers campaign.

Kids from the pediatric unit decorated wood boards representing their medical challenges for Leif to break.

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.

Making Boards

In the months leading up to the event, enCourage Kids had the opportunity to decorate wood boards representing their medical challenges at various events.

“To take these opportunities leading up to the event and then have these actual boards at the event really create a special factor to what’s going on that day,” shared Leif. “And it really brings the messages across to what these kids are facing.”

Photos by Dennis Cahlo

Board Stories

A series of “Board Stories”, featuring enCourage kids and family members with their boards, were created to share across social media.

Many of our kids even got to watch Leif break their board during the event.


Watch KE's Board Story and then see him witness Leif breaking through his board.


Watch Arizona's Board Story and then see her witness Leif breaking through her board.


In addition to the "Board Stories", behind-the-scenes videos were produced to share on social media.

These "Behind the Boards" stories showed followers some of the prep work it took for Leif to prepare for the event.

Event Promotion

Ripley's Week of Giving

In addition to promoting the event across social channels, Ripley’s hosted a “Week of Giving” promotion, encouraging visitors at this iconic attraction to purchase a wooden board for a donation towards enCourage Kids.

On launch day, some lucky attendees even had the chance to break their own board with Leif’s direction.

Leif is joined by enCourage Kids Executive Director Michele Hall-Duncan and Stacy Shuster from Ripley's
The team from Geometry Global, enCourage Kids' creative agency, stopped by on May 11th and decorated boards for Leif to break.

Times Square Billboards

Space was generously donated on billboards in Times Square and above Ripley’s in the month leading up to the event.

Promo video created by Erik Trinidad


Pre-, Day-Of, and Post-Event press accounted for 194,698,617++ impressions across multiple media outlets.

In addition to appearing on CBS This Morning, Huffington Post, and Fox61 CT in the weeks leading up to the event, Leif and enCourage Kids Executive Director Michele Hall-Duncan were interviewed on NY1, ABC News, Fox5 NY, and WPIX.

PR services provided by The O'Hara Project

Event Day

Breaking Barriers kicked off at 8am on May 11, 2017.

Leif Becker kicked things off at 8am on Thursday morning and would continue to break boards in 30 minute increments, followed by 30 minutes of rest.

He wrapped things up 24 hours later at 8am on Friday morning, having broken a total of 12,120 boards.

Emcee Matthew Lee-Alliston kept the crowd, both in-person and online, entertained during breaks.

ABC Online Live Stream

For those who could not attend in Times Square, they had the opportunity to watch the 24-hour event streamed live on ABC Online (viewership 24,144,941)

Screen captures from ABC Online Live Stream

Text to Give

Visual prompts encouraged viewers at home and in-person to easily make donations to enCourage Kids Foundation via Text to Give.

Watch the Finale

Watch as Leif not only breaks the 12,000th board, but continues on to break a total of 12,120 boards!

Record Setter

In addition to raising funds and awareness for enCourage Kids Foundation, Leif Becker also set a World Record for "Most Wooden Boards Broken in 24 Hours".

Leif receiving his Record Setter award

Watch the Official Record Setter presentation


Ripley's Believe It or Not! Exhibit

To celebrate the one year anniversary of this record breaking event, a Breaking Barriers exhibit at Ripley's Believe It or Not! - Times Square was unveiled to the public.

The launch of the national Breaking Barriers tour was also announced, where Leif will visit pediatric facilities across the country helping young patients visualize breaking through their medical barriers.

The Breaking Barriers exhibit at Ripley's Believe it or Not! - Times Square


The Breaking Barriers Campaign also won a 2018 Telly Award for Branded Content in the Not-for-Profit category. View the campaign-winning submission below.

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I believe that good design and video services should be accessible to everyone. Whether you’re seeking creative services for your small business, or non-profit, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice design because of budget constraints. I believe that the way you present your story is just as important as your message and I can help you deliver it in a powerful and captivating way - without breaking the bank.

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