Our Founders

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 he would change.

 



Where We Are Now

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. 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 has overcome. Over the years Break the Grey has exploded, developing a national reach, with an influence across the United States. The effects of this organization on a school and community is felt most when a student writes in to say, "Thank you for changing my life."