Leah: Learning to Cope with Anxiety

“My name is Leah, and when I was in 4th grade I was helped immensely by having a Youth First Social Worker at my school. At the beginning of my fourth grade year, I had a lot of trouble adjusting to my new classroom.

I was actually experiencing panic attacks. But when I started working with Christine Weinzapfel-Hayden, our school’s Youth First Social Worker, she taught me that what I was experiencing was anxiety, and it was something that many people experience, but there were coping skills that I could learn and use to help manage it.

Not only did Christine give me a toolkit that I could use to reduce my panic attacks and attend classes regularly, but she also increased my confidence in the classroom by letting me know she was a friend of mine who was always there for me, right down the hall whenever I needed her.

I am now 24 years old, and I graduated from Indiana University in 2020 with my Bachelors in Public Health. I’ve moved down to San Antonio, Texas, with my husband, where I work on a research study as a project manager while also pursuing my Master’s in Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

I am now someone who knows that my anxiety doesn’t have to define me, nor does it have to hold me back from anything that I want to do in life.

Congratulations, Youth First, on 25 years of helping kids reach their full potential!”

Additional Stories