This month of November, The Guidance Center is celebrating gratitude. Please view last week’s blog, A Season of Thankfulness, for more information. In honor of this, we reached out to our staff and asked them, “What does gratitude mean to you?” Their responses to this question are below. We also encourage our readers to ask themselves this question and their friends and family members. With just a little reflection, you might find that you have more to be thankful for then you realize.

Doris Pakozdi, AMFT – Clinical Therapist, San Pedro Clinic

This quote resonates with me because it is something I am striving to practice every day and encourage my clients to do the same- finding gratitude in the mundane.

Becky Flores, LMFT – Clinical Therapist, Long Beach School Based

Gratitude is a posture that allows us to step back and reflect on the very experiences and people that shape our lives. Gratitude invites us to recognize the blessings within our lives, even amidst challenging circumstances. As I reflect on my personal journey, I am grateful for the calling of being a mental health clinician. I am grateful for the families that invite me into their stories. I am grateful for the healing and growth that I witness as a therapist. I firmly believe clinicians are seeds of hope for the families they work with. I am profoundly grateful for my colleagues because their work ethic, compassion, support and resilience drive me not only to be an exceptional therapist, but an exceptional human being.

Melissa Mojica, LMFT, – Public Safety Clinician

I am thankful to The Guidance Center for providing me the opportunity to provide mental health services in our city jail. I have been challenged in so many ways as a clinician and person entirely. I feel stronger emotionally and spiritually. I am grateful when someone says yes to speak with me because they have allowed me to support them on probably one of the worst days of their life. I carry gratitude in my conscious awareness on a daily basis. I wake up and practice gratitude meditation, I go to sleep with guided gratitude meditation. Mindful gratitude in all things I experience leaves me feeling grounded and humbled. No matter what comes my way, good or bad, I acknowledge where I came from, the work I did to get here and recognize the value of any obstacle that has come my way.

I am thankful to my mother, husband and our four fur babies! They keep me calm, safe and level-headed.

Lauren Pacillas – Human Resources Coordinator

To me, thankfulness is about recognizing a need that has been or is being met. As an employee of TGC who believes wholeheartedly in our mission and vision, it can sometimes be overwhelming to see the immense need for mental health services in the world today. I think it’s very important to pause and celebrate our amazing, empathetic, superhero staff members who are consistently serving our community. I am thankful to be part of an organization that is committed to caring!

Teresa Velarde-Page, LMFT – Program Manager, Long Beach School Based

I feel gratitude when I have the opportunity to give and know that I may have made a small positive difference in someone’s life.


I’ve struggled with stress and anxiety that I never had until the past few years. I was mad and depressed every day that I came to work. I’m doing a lot better now. I feel thankful, blessed and grateful every day that I don’t struggle feeling all those things as I did. So, this quote means that I don’t have to struggle with anxiety as much and remembering what I have in my life. I’m able to focus on being positive and, most of all, grateful for all of the support I have.

Priscilla Gomez, MSW – Early Childhood and Trauma Care Clinician at Educare LA at Long Beach

Gratitude to me means, actively seeking and appreciating the moment when it presents itself. This week I took time to reflect and appreciate my siblings and their individual journeys. I took a moment to be grateful for the Vons employees this week who were dancing on their lunch break while getting their coffee, it brighten my day. I am grateful for the amazing conversations I am able to have with my mother, with her wisdom and imperfections I am able to feel her love and her well intentions. I am grateful my father sticks to his sobriety and works the program even after more than 30 years of sobriety to be the amazing man and father he is every single day.

I am grateful for the stories and the community that is built in the Parent Coffee Talks. We gathered together to become stronger and appreciate our individual stories. Some people say I must have a hard job listening to pain, but it is my blessing to bear witness to the strength that resides inside the souls that feel broken. They haven’t yet realized they are growing stronger for the plight of life. For this, I am eternally grateful to stand alongside resiliency through the power of storytelling. Lastly, I am trying to be more intentional with my practice of gratitude and therefore, I am very grateful that The Guidance Center is shedding light on such an important component of the human experience to bring more joy!

Taylor Thatcher, AMFT – Clinical Therapist, Long Beach School Based

This is a quote that I enjoy because it reminds me to express my appreciation and gratitude for my family, friends, colleagues, etc. who make me smile and make my life more fulfilling and meaningful.

A special thank you to our staff who participated and shared their reflections on gratitude. We would love to hear from you as well! You can reach out to us on social media and share what thankfulness means to you. Please stay tuned for more blog posts as we continue our theme of thankfulness and gratitude.