Jake and Lindsay Breakey always knew they wanted a Christian education for their future children, and from the time they were married they had their hearts set on Lynden Christian Schools in Northwest Washington.
When their first son, Bronson, didn’t meet his developmental milestones, Lindsay and Jake questioned if Lynden Christian had the resources to meet his unique needs. Bronson was loving and adventurous, but he experienced significant delays in fine motor skills and speech as a result of autism spectrum disorder. They didn’t think their dream of Christian education would be possible for their family.
God was already at work as Bronson approached kindergarten in 2017. Jeany Aupperlee, Lynden Christian student academic services director, and the school accepted Bronson with open arms and hearts full of Christ’s unwavering love. Beginning in 2017, the school had also committed to serving students with significant support needs through their partnership with All Belong.
“When Lynden Christian partnered with All Belong, everything changed,” said Lindsay, “This was the beginning we had prayed for: a Christian education for Bronson within the framework of a full–inclusion classroom setting.”
With the inclusive foundation laid by the All Belong community, today the Breakeys and Lynden Christian can’t imagine life any other way. As a second-grade student, Bronson has experienced significant social, academic, and spiritual growth—he loves to climb and play on the monkey bars and connects with other kids through these activities. “We feel the acceptance and hope in the halls and with every ‘hello’ or high five Bronson gets from his peers,” said Jake. “We see it in his teacher’s eyes welling up with tears as Bronson reads out loud. God’s faithful love is all around us in our school, and the support we receive is overwhelming!”
Bronson’s presence is changing the perspective of kids and families, too. Their understanding and awareness of disability is increasing.
“As Christians, we need to understand other people and how God created them,” said Lindsay. “This community has been a blessing to us.”
The region’s commitment to belonging for persons of all abilities in schools and churches led to the launch of All Belong’s Pacific Northwest regional office in Fall 2018, where Jake serves on the advisory board and Jeany serves as a regional teacher consultant. The Breakey’s involvement, paired with the regional office, have opened doors to equip churches to include children and adults with disabilities.
“We invited our pastor and children’s ministry leader to an All Belong church training,” said Lindsay, “They gained so much from it, including many practical tools. Not only have they grown in awareness, but they recently wrote a statement about their commitment to include people of all abilities within the church.”
The Breakeys are grateful for the belonging and hope they’ve found within Christian community. “We have peace that we are not alone on this journey,” said Jake. “All Belong has helped facilitate a deeper level of acceptance, love, and understanding in our son’s life, and we feel blessed to have that additional support.”
Passionate about inclusive education? Make a contribution to All Belong to faithfully build belonging for persons of all abilities.
Katie Barkley is a marketing and communications professional committed to belonging for persons of all abilities.