After working for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and attending graduate school for Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University for Education, the founder of this organization, Adeeb Barqawi, had the opportunity of joining Teach For America. Adeeb was assigned to teach Physics at Kashmere High School located in Northeast Houston. The daily conditions that his students faced were crippling. Not only did students not have access to quality food and health care, they were limited to many after school programs both inside and outside of the school.
The work of ProUnitas started when Adeeb Barqawi realized that his students’ ability to learn was not due to their lack of motivation but rather the lack of essential services within the school and community to meet the numerous needs of his students. For example, when Adeeb secured an opportunity for one of his students to participate in a workforce development program, the need for transportation arose. Once that was met, the need for healthcare services emerged. It soon became clear that someone had to partner with organizations and coordinate linking students to much needed services.
ProUnitas started enlisting people within the school and community to meet the needs of the children and, initially, there was no specific solution in mind. Eventually, this group of youth and community members became more organized and focused in their work and formed the ProUnitas Kashmere Community and Youth Councils. The more ProUnitas engaged with stakeholders and community members the more focused the efforts became and a solution started to emerge. ProUnitas Identified two fundamental systems that needed to exist before measurable transformational change could occur. The establishment of a civic infrastructure that acts as a centralized community/volunteer/advocacy voice for the birth – 24 population and a support-backbone organization that aligns and supports the linkage of services for the birth – 24 population.