Breakdown STL

Michaela Broder, Reporter

According to the team, Breakdown STL is a peer-to-peer performing art outreach organization that empowers teens to make positive choices regarding; sex, relationships, drugs, and alcohol. Their main vision is to see students reach adulthood free from the consequences of high-risk behavior.

The founder and president of Breakdown STL Jenna Imergoot brought the program to St. Louis. Imergoot shared her vision with others, secured donors and built her team of staff and volunteers, made up of students. In January 2006, the very first BreakDown STL presentation, at the time was named “OnStage” launched at Lafayette High School in Wildwood.

“The one thing I want all of you to take away from this presentation is that you have a choice to live in freedom, not fear. Your past decisions don’t have to make who you are. You have the choice to change. Drugs, drinking, and sex isn’t as important as they may seem. They have all had a really large impact on every single one of our lives, however,” Imergoot said.

Each of these topics has somewhat of an impact on Imergoot throughout her life and that is why she felt so strongly about this idea. She was in an abusive relationship, was pregnant at a young age, and went out and partied, drank and did drugs.

“The presentation was very inappropriate. A lot of the topics that they went over had good intentions, but the skits may have led to a lot of anxiety in many students, the cutting scene in particular. Even though it may be what goes through someone’s head, the scene is inappropriate for students who may have gone through that. It may cause a trigger they may have thought they were over,” junior Sam Kuper said.

BreakDown STL featured choreography, skits, and videos over relationships, drug use, alcohol, parties, suicide, pregnancy, and eating disorders.

“A lot of the subjects like bulimia, abusive relationships, inferred parental abuse, the suicide note and how right before he was about to kill himself, his friend called, were insanely touchy subjects. When the dancers came out, some of their numbers lightened up some of the topics a bit, others made you want to just cry with all of the emotion was spilling out. It overall raised more awareness although it may not have been in a positive manner, they shouldn’t have forced their own opinions on other people that not everyone particularly agrees with,” junior Kayla Todorovich said.

Breakdown STL also presented statistics; including, every 16 minutes a suicide occurs and one out of every 16 students have made a suicide attempt, according to the Alan Guttemier Institute.

“The BreakDown STL presentation was inspirational, people reflect upon it differently based on what they have and haven’t gone through,” sophomore Paige Davis said.

Hopefully, every student that attended this presentation took something away from it, whether it was not to bully, have safe sex, or to be aware of your choices and the consequences of their actions.