What is New start?
New Start is a volunteer collaboration between Alicia Anir Photography, Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, and by extension, Amaanah Refugee Services, to bring free premiere portrait services to refugee, asylum seeking, and low income immigrant families in the Houston Metro Area. Many of the families serviced by these organizations have come as refugees escaping with their families from dangerous war torn countries or have escaped political and/or religious persecution. Often families leave on very short notice, with little warning or opportunity to access their personal possessions or belongings, and often are forced to abandon their homes and other loved ones. In some cases, some families have left family treasures and mementos to include personal family pictures and snapshots. Others have never had a family portrait or pictures at all. With New Start, we would like to make sure that each refugee and asylum seeking family arriving in the Houston area has at least one set of family portraits of their children and families to welcome their arrival into the United States and to treasure as they beginnings for future generations to come.
How can I participate in New start?
When you have arrived in the Houston area, you should have received a flyer giving you a brief summary of New Start from your case work with either Amaanah Refugee Services or AMCS. If you received your flyer through Amaanah Refugee Services, simply fill out the contact form HERE and we will contact you shortly. All other families who received their flyer through AMCS should first sign up with your case worker, who will then forward your contact information to us. From there, we will begin the process booking and scheduling your family session in a predesignated location based on your home location. Because we here at Alicia Anir Photography want you to get comfortable and settled with your new surroundings, we suggest that you contact us 6 - 8 months after your arrival into Houston. Each flyer is valid up to one year for one session after the beginning of your 6 month anniversary date of your arrival. Please be mindful, sessions are limited, and families are encourage to sign up short after your 6 month arrival anniversary. New Start is only available to recently arrived immigrant families participating in Amaanah International and Alliance for Multicultural Community Service programs.
how much will it cost?
New Start is completely free to all approved participants. You will never be asked to pay for any services unless you opt to purchase additional services.
Can I purchase additional services?
Yes. Additional services are available at discounted rates only for New Start participants. You do not have to purchase additional services if you do not choose to do so.
Can I choose my Own location for my session?
Alicia Anir Photography has scouted and chosen locations deemed best for their photographic potential and also to ease the burden on families who may or may not yet have a good grasp of the Houston Metro Area. Houston is a very large and vast city and we want to make sure that you can not only find the location for your session, but it is within your means of reach arriving on location. If you have a special and unique location in mind for your particular session, just be sure to mention it on the brief family questionnaire you will receive after signing up for your session.
Who can I bring to the session?
All new start participants are encouraged to involve all members of the immediate family. We understand in some cultures, some families don't just end with simply the core family. If you have grandparents and extend family members, we encourage you to bring them as well. However, we do ask that you limit sessions to one per extended family. Please limit the individuals at your session to only active session participants.
DO YOU WORK WITH FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS?
All families who are eligible for participation in New Start are welcome to participate regardless of religious, cultural, and various forms of physical and mental special needs. If you have a cultural or special need that we may need to accommodate you with, just let your case worker know and describe you situation on your pre-session questionnaire.
What if I don't Speak english very well?
That's ok. We anticipate that some families may not quite have a good grasp on English quite yet. Speak to your case worker when signing up for your session, and your case worker will attempt to help facilitate an translator for you.
I'm a regular Alicia Anir Photography Client? Can I Still help?
Yes! New Start is a volunteer program created by Alicia Anir Photography to give back to the community and those with least in the world. Learn more about Alliance for Multicultural Community Services here. If you would like to volunteer with Alliance for Multicultural Community Services please click here. Those who are interested in volunteering with Amaanah Refugee Services may click here. Any donations to fund prints for a refugee family can be made here. We greatly appreciate your interest in helping New Start!