Billy Ballenger spent the majority of his young life fighting authority and digging himself into a deep pit without the prospect of escape. Being bullied at school on an almost daily basis cut Billy's fuse short and he began to push back, becoming violent and disorderly. Early battles with drugs and alcohol by age 15 propelled him in a downward spiral that eventually led to him buying and selling drugs. By age 18, Billy Ballenger was not just trudging down a corrupt path; he was sprinting down it. He was involved in several dangerous crimes, a turf war with other drug runners, and was even part of some dangerous street shootings. On September 12, 1988, his risky lifestyle came to an abrupt end. A SWAT team broke into their home, having been dispatched to apprehend Billy for his involvement in the recent shootings and burglaries in the area. Billy and Jodie were arrested and their young daughter Mindy was taken from them. Billy saw the remnants of a wasted life from behind the iron bars of 4 different prisons over the course of two years. Billy made a promise to himself that it was time to make a transformation.
Why We Started
After Billy was released from prison, his life goal became to help young people who have dug themselves into the same hopeless pit he found himself in. With a passion for rescuing others from the chains of darkness, Billy began to share his story all around the country. Billy found success in the music world as well as in public speaking opportunities. He became the front man of a rock band and attacked this venture with as much voracity as his hunger to help teenagers. Naturally, these two passions eventually came to a head and combined into an organization now called "Break the Grey." In 2010 Break the Grey launched an internship program, training other young people to guide their peers towards a healthier style of living. As a team they travel to public schools culminating in a high-energy performance through skits and motivational speaking. The assemblies focus on Billy's story and his advice on how to break the poisonous life decisions he and Jodie have overcome.
Where We Are Now
Over the last few years, BTG has exploded. It's grown exponentially, developing a national reach, with an influence across the entire United States. Billy's dream of using music to change lives is now fully manifested in BTG. Billy Ballenger hasn't had a drop of alcohol or touched an illegal drug since 1988. His organization is thriving and his band is finding ever-growing success. Break the Grey has reached over 300,000 public school students, and continues to create, write, and perform daily. More than any of this, Break the Grey is rewarded most when a student writes to them and says, "Thank you for changing my life." It's this that Break the Grey hopes to hear from every young person searching for help in high schools all across America.