Growing up as a 1st generation of Indian immigrant parents, I struggled deeply with balancing the collectivist values of Indian culture and the individualist values of American culture. Seeing a therapist for the first time in my early 20s, I began the journey to get in touch with who I truly am and experiencing a level of compassion that filled my soul. I knew to the depth of my being that if just one person provided that compassion to me when I was younger, it would have transformed my life.
I had my first taste as a counselor providing mental health services at a K-8th grade Catholic elementary school. From that day on, I knew I found my true calling. I loved the community of the school, working with the teachers, supporting the students through therapy, and partnering with the parents. I loved that a teacher could refer a child for therapy and there was a wealth of information at school that could inform how I help the child: talking to the faculty and parents, observing the child in the classroom, the playground, and during school assemblies. I also noticed that it was easy for the child to feel safe with me since they were in the familiar environment of school. At the school, it was easy to partner with the teachers and parents to work together to support the child.
I continued working in schools for 18 years. In 2012, I co-founded Counseling Partners of Los Angeles (CPLA), a non-profit agency that provides low-cost therapy to schools throughout Los Angeles, the majority of the schools being Catholic school communities. CPLA started with 7 schools the first year and grew to 35 schools and approximately 60 counselors when I left in 2019. I gained invaluable experience training therapists, working in many
different school communities, and much much more. I also
learned a valuable lesson: support, have compassion, and
empower the therapists working in the schools so that they are
able and want to pay it forward to the school community.
When Julie reached out to me to start Thrive, the idea excited
me and I was amazed how it was a natural fit based on my life
and work experience. With Julie and Susan, we are leading this
organization to spread compassion, support, and empowerment
to the children so that they can Thrive.