The Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees
The Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees (PAIR) mission is to empower refugee youth to navigate American society, reach their academic potential and become community leaders. The organization was founded in 2006, by volunteers, on the campus of Rice University and now supports over 300 refugee youth through mentoring, tutoring, college access and leadership development programs.
Houston is the most diverse city in the country and an important part of this diversity includes the local immigrant and refugee population. In 2017, the city of Houston welcomed over 2,500 refugees, 51% of which were children. Unfortunately adjusting to the US is not always easy for these children. Refugee youth face challenges such as language barriers, discrimination in their new communities, and difficulty adjusting to new educational and social settings. Many are likely to have experienced childhood traumas, and because of this, have an increased risk for negative life outcomes like high school dropout, mental health issues, and criminal behavior. Rockwell invests in quality interventions like PAIR that result in improved outcomes for at risk middle school youth.
Utilizing volunteers from local colleges and universities, PAIR provides supportive guidance and mentorship to refugee youth in schools. PAIR volunteers and staff intervene with youth during a critical transition period where educational disengagement may begin. This allows refugee youth to be heard, seen, and feel a part of a community. PAIR mentors build relationships with refugee youth, guiding them through activities that support social and emotional development, and adapting to US culture while succeeding academically.
Faries, a former 8th grader at Las Americas Middle School, moved here with his family from Eritrea in 2018. Faries struggled with English and Reading but excelled in Mathematics – so much so he only wanted to practice math, to the neglect of his other subjects. Lawrence, his mentor through PAIR and a retired school teacher, made a compromise with Faries that he could practice math during their after-school meetings if he also practiced his English and writing skills. The compromise worked and Faries became the only student on the campus to pass the Math and Reading STAAR Test at Las Americas. Las Americas Newcomer Middle School is in southwest Houston and specifically educates recent immigrant and refugee students who have limited English language proficiency and in many cases minimal prior formal education.
Rockwell Fund supports the Global Learners Middle School Program at PAIR. The program is offered at school sites twice a week, between the hours of 4-6PM for the academic school year. Global Learners middle school program supports young people in their academics and life in by promoting English use and proficiency, building social and emotional skills and closing learning gaps. The program currently serves three HISD middle schools with high refugee populations: Jane Long Academy, Las Americas Newcomer School and Paul Revere Middle School. PAIR has plans to expand the program into Fondren Middle School and Navarro Middle School in 2020.
Rockwell is proud to support The Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees and its work to ensure that refugee youth have access to opportunity and the chance to reach their full potentials.
For more information, please visit PAIR’s website (www.pairhouston.org).
770 S. POST OAK LANE, SUITE 525, HOUSTON, TX 77056