"Never Give Up, and Have Courage"

YMCA International Services invited graduating 8th graders to participate in an award contest for which they wrote brief essays describing the obstacles they faced when they came to the U.S. Below is the story of one of the nine winners who are in PAIR’s programs at Jane Long and Fondren Middle Schools.

Helena’s Story*

Where l am from is the place that will always remain in my heart. My name is Helena. My mom and dad passed through a lot of things that they will never forget. The pain they went through so we could be on this earth, when we were sick they were there for us. Our neighbors were so nice, great, friendly and always there for others. Mostly people die in Congo. There are always wars, they have a lot of enemies from some countries and great people in other countries. All because of that, I lost my dad. That is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

I overcame my obstacle by talking to my mother. She has told me a lot of words to make me feel great. She has told me to believe in myself and to never give up. Because of what she told me I feel grateful for everything and I thank God that I have the love of my mother. Every day I wake up in the morning and thank God for everything in this world. I go to church and praise Him and tell Him to protect my dad, all of my family and my friends.

What I learned from everything is that I want everyone who is passing through what I passed through to have courage and to never give up. I will always remember my mother’s words, “never give up and have courage to do what you want. Go to church and let your mother give you advice and most of all, have faith in yourself.”


 Helena, pictured here with PAIR staff and other scholarship recipients. 

Helena, pictured here with PAIR staff and other scholarship recipients. 


*Names have been changed to protect students’ privacy.