At 19 years old, Penticton’s Brittany Apolzer can reflect on the very moment her life was saved.
Facing the challenges that many kids do and feeling bullied by her peers, the then 12-year-old Apolzer reluctantly went with her middle school to Penticton Secondary School for a Live Different presentation.
“I don’t even know if I would be living today if I hadn’t seen that,” she admits. “It was incredibly inspiring. I was at the lowest point in my life. I felt abused and that everyone was picking on me. I took their jokes so personal and it just broke me down at such a young age.”
Then a spark was ignited in Apolzer. Hearing speakers from Live Different talking about their own challenges and how their lives changed by making a difference in a Third World country gave her a new outlook.
“It instantly gave my life a sense of purpose,” she said.
Fundraising and saving money to go on the Hero Holiday trip for two years until she was old enough to join, Apolzer was rejuvenated. The trips involve building schools, houses, medical clinics and more to help Third World communities entrenched in poverty and exploitation.
“It reached a whole other level of change in my life again when I actually went on the trip and saw people living in Third World conditions and being able to help,” said Apolzer.
Last Wednesday, she was completing the circle of her journey, speaking at KVR Middle School about her experiences with the Live Different group who brought live music and shared true personal stories.
“Every show we do, I think there is a little Brittany out in that crowd that needs to hear my story,” said Apolzer.
Live Different team leader Johnny Henderson said this presentation’s goal is ultimately to empower the students, focus on equality and show them that their life has value.
“I think because we show a vulnerability, open up about our personal stories and keep a certain energy, we really connect with the students,” said Henderson. “It shows them that what they are going through isn’t weird and that they can make a difference in their lives.”
The KVR students flocked to the speakers and band members after the show, looking for autographs, to have their photos taken with them and just the opportunity to speak one-on-one with them. Visible proof that what was said over the hour-long presentation made an impression.
“I thought they were very inspiring and it will help me in my life with things I have been going through and I will be able to share that with friends,” said Grade 8 student Abigail Teichroeb. “Hearing all the speakers’ stories really made an impact because some of those things people I know are going through too.”