Storyteller Series: Mental Health Awareness – Lisa Verdin

I’ve never thought of myself as an actor. I seek out genuine relationships and appreciate authenticity in others. I have always felt like those are the qualities others can count on receiving from me…and mostly that’s true.

I have struggled with anxiety most of my life. For me anxiety can often feel like performing. Anxiety is uncomfortable and, in an effort, to feel good and avoid swirling thoughts, self-doubt and constant worry you can become a great actor. That acting can look like high-performance, being helpful and hardworking, performing well under pressure, social and confident. What’s happening inside is much less attractive, it’s poor boundaries and people pleasing, it’s a fear of failure, it’s self-loathing, it’s over analyzing every interaction of your day, it’s guilt.

It’s exhausting.  

I’m still learning to identify these anxiety behaviors and combat them with supportive personal and professional environments, safe spaces that allow me to be uncomfortable and grow. It’s allowing myself to feel the things I’ve worked hard to avoid and be reassured in knowing that the feeling won’t last forever. It’s understanding that asking for support, taking medication and having unmanageable moments are not weakness and they certainly don’t define me.

For me the work and growth comes when I confront the actor, when I choose not to avoid but engage with my own internal conflict.

Managing my anxiety happens every minute of every day. It is a journey and not a destination.


Lisa Verdin

Director of Marketing & Engagement


If you need help finding support, visit or call 211 now.

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Storyteller Series: Mental Health Awareness – Karla Johnson

Storyteller Series: Mental Health Awareness – Karla Johnson

Why is it so hard to talk about mental health? I’ve wanted to share my story for a few weeks now but have had a horrible time finding a way I’m comfortable in approaching it! If it’s hard for me, as I purposely want to address this—it’s no wonder we are all reluctant...

Mizzen by Mott – June

Mizzen by Mott – June

The Mizzen By Mott app delivers inspiring and engaging activities that spark learning in young people. Supported by the Mott Foundation, Mizzen is available at no cost to afterschool professionals! Encourage partners to download the Mizzen By Mott app to access STEM ...

The South Dakota Afterschool Network works to better our state and its communities by connecting providers, parents and policymakers with proven tools and resources to increase the quality of and access to out-of-school time programming for K-12 children and youth.

Afterschool is a lifeline that keeps youth safe, helps kids learn and grow, and provides parents the ability to work without worry. While South Dakota is home to more than 300 afterschool programs, the demand for programs exceeds available spaces. In fact, 1 in 3 South Dakota children (34 percent) who are not in an afterschool program would be enrolled if it were available. That’s more than 42,000 children who are missing out on opportunities to participate in programming that supports their development academically, socially and economically.

Afterschool can provide valuable opportunities for students to explore STEM, and we are here to help your program succeed in STEM Learning! From webinars and trainings to our signature TMC Trailers that bring turnkey STEM activities to your doorstep, our diverse collection of resources meets you and your students where you are and provides the support you need to deliver quality programming to your students at any age. 

The South Dakota Afterschool Network wanted to create a mapping tool to better understand the landscape of afterschool and summer programs available for children and families. From the initial launch of the new mapping tool, we have identified some startling findings.