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

YMCA International Services Adopt-A-Family Program

Help bring smiles to members of our community by participating in the YMCA International Services’ Adopt-A-Family program. This program provides an opportunity to show a newcomer the love and support of the community. Help us make this season merry and bright for our clients!



  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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View Upcoming Events

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Other Resources

Community Resources

  • YMCA International Services Food Pantry: Fridays from 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Do you live in Texas and can’t afford your rent? We are here to help. Stop TX Eviction Portal

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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

  • Despite all of the challenges presented by the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, your YMCA International Service Team remained dedicated to being a beacon of hope, providing resources for assistance, and providing reliable legal services.
  • In 2020, YMCA International Services provided:
  • 1,461 individuals with Education services, civics courses, cultural orientations, ESL classes, etc.
  • 8,465 community members received employment assistance, medical assistance and social services
  • 66,676 individuals and families received 1,187,100 pounds of food
  • 4,808 individuals in detention and community members were provided with orientation or counseling services
  • 406 refugees were welcome and resettled in the Houston Area
  • YMCA International Service volunteers donated 1,071 hours in 2020 to these efforts. Without them, our impact on the Houston metropolitan area would not be possible.

Contact Us

Jeff Watkins
Chief International Initiatives Officer


Lisa Guitguit
Center Executive Director


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


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


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

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


Lindsey Torres
Senior Director of Business Operations

713-339-9015 ext. 3640

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