The BreakDown vision was conceived by Aimee Dobbins in Tuscon, Arizona. After seeing the original team perform in 2006, Jenna Imergoot, BreakDown STL Founder and President, knew this was a program that she wanted to bring to the students in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. She immediately began sharing her vision, securing donors and building her team. In January of 2007, the first BreakDown STL presentation - aptly named OnStage - launched at Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Missouri.
In its simplest form BreakDown STL is designed to give voice to behavioral health issues as seen through the eyes of contemporary youth. We identify talented teen influencers and train them to do hard things. BreakDown STL is an experiential learning program for students with high potential to lead. This Leadership Team engages in conversations with students that society neglects to address. This is accomplished through our OnStage program, a full student-body, 90-minute multimedia presentations that uses peer-to-peer drama, spoken word, digital media, music, and dance to empower teens to live a life free from the consequences of high-risk behaviors. The program remains in high demand. A follow up program, OffStage, launched in 2012, to position Peer Mentors in partner schools to dig deep into one topic monthly.
To continue growing our impact in the St. Louis region, we embraced the opportunity in 2015 to expand our footprint into the urban core region of St. Louis. Our newest "OnStage North" Team operates in St. Louis City (“The City”) and North St. Louis County (“North County”). Presentations are having a tremendous impact on youth in urban core communities who come to us disillusioned at best, often broken by their environment, communities, home life - and stay on to become poised, stellar servant leaders running counter-culture to their neighborhoods.
BreakDown STL is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization that is independently funded and operated.