Boys Town South Florida's Primary Project Helps Bella Overcome Anxiety Issues

This story was written by a mom whose daughter participated in our Primary Project years ago. Although many years have passed, this mom saw how her daughter was able to overcome anxiety and feel good about going to school. The program truly helped set her on a successful academic path. Primary Project is offered at 12 elementary schools in Palm Beach County, and it helps over 600 kindergarten and first-grade students improve their adjustment to school and enhance their social and emotional well-being. When my daughter Bella was in first grade, she started showing signs of anxiety, especially at school. We had gone through a lot of changes in our household leading up to that year, but it seemed to culminate with me going back to work for the first time ever in her short life. 

She really struggled with not wanting to go (to school) each day. She would cry on the way to school, and often the staff would have to come outside and walk her into the building to get her past the front doors. She was the kid who would literally cry and hold on to the door jamb as I tried to get her inside. It was rough. On top of that, she was struggling with her self-esteem, feeling like she just wasn't “enough" somehow. 

That's when Primary Project came in and changed her life. Bella went from a shy, anxious, introverted child to an extroverted girl who seems to know everyone. She has gone from standing on the fringes of her life to being fully immersed in her experiences both on campus and off.

Bella is now 15 and just finished her freshman year in high school. This past year she was in a competition color guard team, active in her JTOTC and ready to get involved every time the school doors open. She makes friends everywhere she goes and seems to have a special gift for finding the lonely persons and bringing them into her circle.

Bella loves to be the center of attention and is proud of her academic and athletic accomplishments. She will (without prompting, lol) share that she can “squat lift more than the guys on her squad." She also talks your ear off when sharing what she wrote about in her AICE General Papers class or the newest thing she learned in her Holocaust history class.

Bella is strong, smart, brave and kind. She has had her struggles, and when she started having anxiety again during COVID and shutdowns, we once again turned to Boys Town South Florida. Their Behavioral Health Clinic was there to help guide her and give her new skills that have continued to shape her into this amazing young woman. I wish I were 1/10th as incredible as she is! I am forever grateful for Primary Project for starting her on this great journey to become the best version of herself she could be."