Wiyaka Brave-Heart is an active eighteen-year-old. She attends high school, participates in extra-curricular activities, and plans to attend college after she graduates. Unlike other students her age, though, she suffers from emotional impairment. “I get panic attacks very easily. Mostly they have to do with self-esteem,” says Brave-Heart. “I have body dysmorphic disorder where I see myself differently than other people do. My anxiety is mostly about me.”
Instead of focusing on what stresses her out, Brave-Heart immerses herself in activities such as drama, being on the prom committee and co-captain of the cheerleading squad. “I love performing, playing guitar and singing,” she says. “I plan on going into it as a career.” While school can be tough for any teenager, Brave-Heart leans on her Ann Arbor Academy family for support. “A few particular teachers have really helped me out this year. I’m very grateful for them,” she says.
When school is out, Brave-Heart’s business venture heats up. Lovely Feather Sweets offers specialty treats, like lemon cupcakes and graduation cakes. Last year they catered 450 scratch-made desserts for a school auction. “If I’m really busy all the time, I’m focused on the things I’m doing rather than dwelling on stuff that I shouldn’t even be worrying about,” she says.