Kids & Family

One Woman's Passion Makes Life Easier for Immigrant Kids

Jenna Baron has traveled the world, but it's her passion for her work here at home in Pittsburgh that's changing the lives of children from other countries.


Jenna Baron has traveled the world, but it's her passion for her work here at home in Pittsburgh that's changing the lives of children from other countries.

Jenna founded the group ARYSE , which stands for the Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education. She serves as Executive Director. ARYSE is a small non-profit that creates a place for refugee youth to go after school, a safe place to interact, feel at home, and learn and practice their English.

Jenna's passion for mentoring immigrant children stems from her own experience traveling around the world and serving as a student mentor while at the University of Pittsburgh. She's seen first-hand the struggle an immigrant child can go through simply making it through a "normal" day in a foreign place. "Most of our students have experienced a long and stressful process of migration to the States, and our goal is to ensure that when they get here, they are greeted with the warmth, community, and support they deserve," Jenna told us when we stopped by to see how the program works.

ARYSE is the only program in the region specifically tailored to the needs of refugee children. It operates year-round and provides English language exposure to refugee children through high school. Adult volunteers serve as mentors, often developing a personal relationship with the children, something many of them don't get at school.

The mentors help kids with their homework or offer other educational activities for those kids who claim to not have homework. ARYSE puts an emphasis on learning in everything it does, even teaching the kids the importance of team work while having fun playing sports.

The growth of the ARYSE program and the impact it's made with such limited resources is quite remarkable and a testament to Jenna's passion and enthusiasm. Click here for more information about ARYSE and how you can volunteer or support the organization. You can also find Jenna on Twitter @JennaveevBaron to follow her own personal journey.

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