coping with stress & anxiety

Take Flight

Born: March 31, 2015

Purpose: Raise awareness for healthy coping strategies

Current Location: Park Forest Middle School, State College PA 16803

Created by: 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at Park Forest Middle School with the generous support of their administration, teachers, and counselors

Sponsored by: State College Area School District and our partners

Awards: Take Flight was entered into the Art Alliance Recycled Art Show on April 11, 2015 and won “The Skye’s The Limit Youth Award.”

“Take Flight”

Stress – A normal part of life

Everyone, no matter age or background, faces stress on a daily basis and while not all is negative, it is important to learn healthy ways to cope.

Throughout a two week residency, approximately 130 Park Forest Middle School students came together to discuss issues around stress and anxiety, healthy vs. unhealthy ways to cope, and ways we can support one another through life.

Taking flight

The Stomper was named “Take Flight” to remind us how these new techniques lift a burden off us and allows us to “fly” after our dreams. We are also reminded that we are grounded by the sneakers. It is important to remember where we came from and who we are.

Our Discussions:

What is stress?

Stress is any change, positive or negative, to which we must adapt.  It is a natural part of everyone’s life, but we must figure out ways to help us relax and regain focus to remain healthy.

 We all deal with stress in different ways. Sometimes we feel angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, other times the stress motivates us to do better.

 We learned that our reactions often depends on our past experiences and our perceptions of the event.  By focusing on what we can control, we can help reduce the unhealthy feelings toward stress and anxiety.

What causes stress?

Lots of things can cause stress in someone’s life.  A few examples are:

  • Bullying
  • Name Calling
  • Social Isolation
  • Body Image
  • Academic Difficulties
  • Big Events (Performances)
  • Not Getting What We Want
  • Feeling Alone or Neglected
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Teachers and School
  • Tests

What are some healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety?

  • Talk About It
  • Gather More Information
  • Do Something Relaxing
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Keep a Journal
  • Don’t Let Things Linger
  • Exercise
  • Take a “Time Out”
  • Figure Out What’s In Your Control
  • Learn from the Situation
  • Take Action
  • Humor, Laughter
  • Learn Relaxation Techniques

The Park Forest Middle School Stomper was made possible through the generous support of Park Forest Middle School and our partners.

Our Artists: Chris Bittner, Mel Forkner Lesher, Marisa Vicere, Nancy Vicere

Curriculum Development: Marisa Vicere

The Park Forest Middle School Team: Craig Herzing, Jaclyn Fraudorfer, David Eckberg, Howard Pillot, Molly Gazda, Maure Irwin-Furmanek

Our Partners: Pam Monk, Playwright and Journalist; Dr. Peter Montminy, Psychologist; Dr. Dave Yukelson, Penn State University Sports Psychologist; Kindrah Kohne, PSU soccer; Laura Gebhart, PSU Field Hockey; Holly Torbic, Tides; Belle and Fancy, support dogs; Erin Cramer, Art Therapist; Michaela Herr, Art Therapist


Winner of the 2015 "Skye's The Limit Youth Award" in the Art Alliance Recycled Art Show! Congratulations to all the participants on this great achievement.

Hi Friends!

I was created by Park Forest Middle School students during a program where we learned about managing stress. I am here to remind people to lift their burdens to take flight after their dreams, but to also remember to always stay grounded.


Love, take flight

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There is help. There is hope.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health concern or crisis, please reach out for help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text PA to 741741

Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

Trans Life Line: 1-877-565-8860