February / 5 / 2018
Cecilia story

Eleven years ago, Alex Triantaphyllis and Christina Lagos Triantaphyllis met Felix, a young man who had recently come from Congo to Houston as a refugee. Through Felix they slowly came to understand the challenges and opportunities that these new Houstonians face every day. After getting to know many refugee families, they and other Rice students focused on helping youth in middle and high school. That was the beginning of PAIR.

Cecilia is a refugee from Congo who was mentored by Alex in PAIR's early days. Despite some struggles in middle school she mastered English and adjusted to her new life, Cecilia graduated from high school in just three years! She completed a degree in psychology while volunteering widely in the community, in hospitals and with teens. Today, she is pursuing her master's in social work at the University of Houston.

Like many PAIR participants, Cecilia wants to give back to the community that has given her so much
. She says, 
"I believe that we all have the power and resources to make a difference in the world. We cannot sit around and wait for others to change the world for us, change starts within us and reflects on the outside."

Cecilia represents all of us in Houston. She stands for a city that is diverse and welcoming, and one that creates opportunities for everyone to thrive.

Thank you Alex for sharing this story on your blog and for your leadership with PAIR. 
75 Students visit the Houston Zoo 

Students in all three of PAIR's middle school Global Learners programs toured the zoo in January. They got an up-close look at a (large!) snake, a tortoise, and two birds, thanks to the zoo's educators.

Students in our Global Leaders programs at Westbury and Wisdom High Schools honed their leadership skills as chaperones for the younger students. 

Opportunities to enjoy the city help newcomers feel they are part of the community and expand their horizons beyond home and school.
In This Issue

Jennifer Garmon to lead PAIR

We are thrilled to announce the promotion  of Jennifer Garmon to executive director of PAIR. Jennifer joined PAIR in October 2017 as interim executive director.
Jennifer's expertise in youth development and refugee services has been an immediate asset to PAIR's mission. She will build on the strong foundation developed by PAIR's staff and founding leaders, helping PAIR continue to expand services to refugee youth in Houston.
Jennifer and our team are passionate about the youth we serve and about their impact on mentors and on our community.
Mark your calendar! 
Reserve your seats now for PAIR's inspiring luncheon!
Join with us in celebrating Houston's young newcomers.
5th Annual Youth Empowerment Luncheon
Friday, May 4, 2018
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Junior League of Houston
Honorary Chair
Suzan Samuels 

Keynote Speaker
Garrett Reed
Wisdom High School 
Volunteer Update

Volunteer registration has come to an end for the Spring semester. Thank you to everyone who registered and attended this semester's volunteer training! If you are interested in volunteering in the summer or fall and would like to be notified  about future opportunities, please contact Michelle Jarest , VISTA Volunteer Coordinator.