Gina Laff

Gina Laff in Chicago, Illinois.

Gina Laff was born in Paraguay and at the age of one she was adopted by a couple living on the north side of Chicago. Her father has struggled with health issues since Gina was very young. He holds Gina to a high standard and she describes him as a stubborn old man who worries about her generation. At first, the frustration of this dynamic caused Gina to pull away as a defense mechanism, but eventually she decided to embrace him for who he was. She keeps a journal of their frequent conversations and his advice. Gina believes the exchanges have made her stronger and brought her peace.

“Sometimes it still does happen where I still push myself away. It’s almost like a security blanket to make sure that he’s not going to say something to me that’ll hurt me… like that’s my fear is that he’ll say something to me that’s not nice or not the best and that will be the last thing he says to me. And that’s my main reason for having that security blanket but  I can’t be all mad and hold grudges against him. I listen to what he says and I make sure to talk to him every chance I get. ”

“Why would I push myself away from someone who might not be there tomorrow?”


APOMM behind the scenes: 

I met Gina at a Chicago school called the Global Citizenship Experience. Small classes, innovative engagement, and a global perspective. On this day, I had the help of my friend,  Jeff Rennicke to shoot some of the b-roll video. He’s an amazing nature photographer and you can find some of his work here.

Discussion Questions

  • What community or communities are you a part of? Where are you from? How do you give back to that community?
  • Where is your happy place?
  • How do you create calm in your life?
  • What song, singer, or album makes you feel at peace?
  • Describe a time you got through a bad situation. How did you make the best of it?
  • What experiences in your life have made you stronger?
  • What are you thankful for right at this moment?
  • Who are some important mentors in your life? How have they helped you improve?
  • When was a time you were exposed to something really new? How did that change your perspective?
  • What do you need to do to find peace?
  • How do you deal with conflict or problems?
  • Who are you when you are truly yourself?


One thought on “Gina Laff

  1. Dear Gina,

    Your story fascinates me. The way you talk about peace does start with loving yourself. I’ve always felt as if I’ve been judged my whole life, and once I accepted I was different I didn’t have to worry about other people’s opinions anymore. You mentioned how you live life by appreciating the little things, and that’s one thing I’ve always wanted to accomplish, but it still needs practice. For me, peace is also a place. And it doesn’t have to be a physical place, but simply something that makes you feel like you’re at home. I also turn to music whenever my life gets ahead of me, and I play guitar. These are the little things that I appreciate, and they give me hope that a better tomorrow is waiting for me.

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