ISF Graduate / Paris M.
Paris, a California native, was placed in foster care at the age of 2 when her mother was no longer able to care for her. She still remembers two strangers standing at her door asking her to grab her bag of clothes and say goodbye to her mother. Confused and too young to understand, Paris did what she was told, not realizing that this was the last time she would see her mother for a very long time.
Soon afterwards, Paris was moved to a variety of homes until the age of 7 when she was placed with her Aunt and Uncle in Texas. While her relatives did all they could to embrace and support her, Paris still felt alone. She longed for her mother and thought about the day she would see her again. At the age of 18, she graduated from high school and headed to California to find her mother. Unfortunately, the reunion was not what was she was expecting. She found her mother living in the fashion district of Los Angeles, homeless, and now ill with schizophrenia. She did not recognize or remember Paris until she said her name. For Paris, reuniting with her mother was the dream she had been hoping for. While their time was brief (her mother passed away three years later), it is a memory that Paris will have forever.
Upon returning to Texas, Paris decided to attend the University of Houston to pursue a degree in Consumer Science and Merchandising with a specialization in Training and Development. In May, 2009 she graduated and then continued to pursue her Masters in Social Work. It was at this time that she was introduced to International Student Foundation. “I had been involved with several other scholarship programs but ISF was different. They were very involved with the students and actively gave of their time and resources. I had never been involved with a program that really focused on developing a relationship with the student. Of all the scholarship programs I was involved in, none of them had a personal mentoring program”. When asked what makes the mentoring program so unique, Paris stated “I did not think their program would be a continuous thing. I thought it would be temporary. I was mistaken. During the three years with my mentor, we would meet often, over the phone, and discuss issues that were relevant to me. I could bounce ideas off of her and she would give me unbiased advice. We would discuss personal issues, life’s challenges and she would coach me on major decisions. She became a second mom to me and I am grateful for the support I received”.
In December, 2012 Paris graduated with her Masters in Social Work and is now working as a purchasing agent with Cameron Measurement Systems. With current cut-backs it has not been easy to enter her field of specialty, but she is actively pursuing opportunities with CPS.