Lara is a counseling intern at Threshold Community Program from October of 2019 through May of 2020. Lara is from South Africa and she and Christine had a discussion about her life, goals, and what it was like to grow up in South Africa. Lara is a nice, smart, and well-traveled person.
Tell me a story about a place that is important to you.
I have a holiday home in South Africa that overlooks a safari reserve. I got married to my husband there, and I love being around nature with my family.
Can you tell a story about cultural traditions observed by your family?
In South Africa family is very important, it’s less individualistic and more family-oriented, there’s an emphasis on looking after each other and being there for each other.
Discuss an event that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood.
When I left home at age 18 and went to college at the University of Cape Town and lived on my own for the first time.
What is the happiest moment of your life
My heart feels the happiest being with my family in South Africa, with my sisters and their children, and we’re all together, happy, and healthy.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life, what lessons did you learn?
The biggest influence on my life has been my mother and father. They helped me grow into the person that I am. They taught me to have strong values and to never give up, to be humble, and always be grateful for the blessings in life.
What is the hardest thing you have ever had to do?
One of the hardest things I’ve had to do was to grow up, from being the child of someone else to a mother of two children. Being responsible for them and who they become as they grow older. It has been a challenge and hugely growth provoking as a person.
What is something people wouldn’t know about you just by looking at you?
People wouldn’t know I’m a very shy person when they first meet me.
Describe the kind of problems you like to solve?
I like to solve problems around scheduling, how to schedule my days or months.
Tell a story about what you find to be the challenging and most rewarding part of being a counselor?
The most challenging is sometimes I can feel what my clients are feeling, I take their difficulties and sadness onto my life and carry that weight around. The most rewarding thing is being able to walk beside someone when they are going through difficult times, it’s a very humbling and human connection.
How would you describe TCP?
I think TCP is warm, wonderful, inclusive and the teachers care about the students and the students love being there. I feel lucky being a part of it.
How is TCP similar and different from the school you went to growing up?
The school is similar to what I went to growing up because I was very happy there, I felt cared for and that my success was important and valued. That feels the same at TCP. Something that is different is that TCP is much smaller and so you get to connect with staff on a personal level. My school had a lot more rules around behavior and was more traditional.
What are your goals for this year?
I want to graduate from my Master’s Program, survive this quarantine and be the best Mom that I can be.
How do you want the participants to remember you?
The way that they connected to me, that I added something to their lives, that I walked with them, and that there was a positive relationship.
– Christine Sass (TCP Participant)
About the author: Christine is smart, an animal lover, and a writer. She has been a participant at TCP for several years. When not at TCP, Christine enjoys working with children in her job as an Assistant Teacher and hanging out with her dog Nathan.