YMCA International Services

We are committed to be a source of strength and encouragement to all we serve.

Celebrating 45 Years of Service to our Community

YMCA International Services was founded in 1978 to provide client-centered programs to refugees, immigrants and other vulnerable populations in the Houston area. As the years have gone by, client demographics may have changed but one thing has stayed the same; the YMCA is still providing support for refugees, immigrants and vulnerable populations in the Houston and surrounding areas.

3110 Hayes Rd #300, Houston, TX 77082

Mon – Fri: 8:30 am – 5 pm
Sat – Sun: Closed

Satellite Office Information:

Immigration Legal Services (APAL)
6671 Southwest Freeway, Suite 250
Houston, TX 77074

Post Release Services
3110 Hayes Road, Suite 250
Houston, TX 77082

Alief Family YMCA
7850 Howell Sugar Land Road
Houston, TX 77083


  • Career Advancement

  • Education

  • Immigration Legal Services

  • Post Release Services

  • Refugee Employment

  • Refugee Resettlement

  • Social Adjustment Services

  • Trafficked Persons Assistance

A person sitting at a desk while drawing with a sketch of a person with a blurred face in the background.

Who We Serve

A refugee is a person who is unwilling to return to their country of nationality due to persecution or a fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinions, or membership in a group.

Learn more
A photo of a woman holding a child in a living room setting.


Volunteers play an integral part in the successful resettlement of refugees and immigrants. As friends, facilitators, and advocates, they help newly arrived refugees navigate their way around a new society.

Learn More
Learn More
Learn More
A photo of a person holding a certificate and standing next to a child in front of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sign.

Our Programs

Through the Refugee Scholarship Program, YMCA International Services has been able to provide funding for full-time higher education students who have a status as refugee, Special Immigrant Visa holder, asylee, or Victim of Trafficking.

Learn more
A group of people holding up books and other items.

Upcoming Events

If you’re looking to engage with your new community, join us for one of our events. Check out our International Services calendar for details on upcoming classes and community events.

View upcoming events
Learn More
View Upcoming Events

Learn More

Other Resources

Community Resources

  • YMCA International Services Food Pantry: Fridays from 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Community Impact (Client Success Story)

Khuda arrived in the US with his wife, Bibi, and their children in July of 2020. Khuda had worked for the American Special Forces for almost 8 years in Afghanistan, his home country. His job was to assist the US to defuse landmines. Not only was this a dangerous line of work, but also allying with US forces put Khuda and his family in even more danger. Khuda was shot 3 times and also survived a landmine explosion. He was able to recover from these injuries, but Khuda still felt that he and his family were no longer safe in Afghanistan. Because of his work with the American Special Forces, he and his family were eventually able to come to the US with Special Immigrant Visas (SIV.) With YMCA’s assistance, Khuda quickly found a job working for a security company. His wife, while also caring for the children at home, is attending online ESL classes to improve her English.

Despite his hardship in Afghanistan and despite arriving in the US in the middle of a pandemic, Khuda is upbeat and optimistic about his family’s future. He is excited about advancing his career and enjoying life with his family here in Houston.

Our Impact in Numbers

YMCA International Services restore hope and well-being through client-centered assistance including services to refugees, survivors of human trafficking and other vulnerable newcomers. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States (25 percent of Harris County residents were born outside of the U.S.). YMCA International Services aids with advanced economic independence, social integration and civic participation. 

In 2023, YMCA International Services:

  • Served 54,000+ individuals
  • 2,400+ Unaccompanied minors were served through the Post Release Service Program
  • 200+ Survivors were assisted by the Trafficked Persons Assistance Prrogram
  • 25,000+ Community members received assistance from Immigration Legal Services

Contact Us

Jeff Watkins
Chief International Initiatives Officer


Lisa Guitguit
Vice President-International Services


Dayana Gomez-Mendoza
Center Executive Director (Immigrant Youth Services)


Lindsey Torres
Senior Director of Business Operations


Claire Poff
Senior Program Director (Trafficked Persons Assistance Program, Social Adjustment Services, Preferred Communities and Refugee Health Promotion)


Delores Serrano
Senior Program Director (Reception & Placement, Match Grant, Refugee Cash Assistance and Refugee Medical Assistance)


Nicole Sam
Senior Program Director (Immigration Legal Services)


Joanne Pantaleon Torres
Senior Program Director (Education Services, Refugee Youth Mentoring and Employment Services)

713-339-9015 ext. 3632

Grace Ozinga
Senior Program Director (Home Studies/Post Release Services)


Swany Matos
Senior Program Director (Home Studies/Post Release Services)