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Anne Chandler_Circle Crop_WebImagine being born into a situation where violence is always the answer. Imagine being forced to choose between a lifetime of brutality at the hands of a gang or family member, or running away from the only home you have ever known. Imagine making a long, dangerous journey to the United States, only to find yourself facing a very real threat that you be returned to the dangerous situation you fled.

Now, imagine you’re 14.

This is not the picture the word ‘childhood’ typically conjures, yet it is the reality for thousands of immigrant children fleeing horrendous violence in Central America in an effort to survive. This is why we in Houston are working diligently to provide those seeking safety from violence access to the justice they’re entitled to under U.S. law.

As we seek to help the scores of children who need our assistance, in many ways they also help us. We are continually learning from our young clients. Inspired by their tenacity, we are coming together with community partners and key stakeholders to adapt to meet the needs of this most vulnerable population.

Recently, we teamed up with school districts in the Houston-Galveston region to come up with creative solutions to make sure kids are able to access critical services, including education and basic health services.

This year we are dedicating Tahirih Houston’s 5th Annual Gala in September to these brave children. We will raise awareness and critical funds to provide them with the legal and social services they need to recover, rebuild, and simply, to be a kid again.

I think we can all imagine that.