The Parris Foundation and who we are

Agents of change fueled by legacy

Just because someone comes from a difficult background, whether it be due to economic status or a family situation, doesn’t mean they’re destined to stay there. Instead, these very circumstances help an individual appreciate the diversity of their story, the strength that lives inside them, and how it will mold them into the person they aspire to be.

who we are

IT’S BOTH AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE to serve resilient people striving to create a better reality for themselves.



Founded in honor of Parris R. Gaehring who lost his life at a young age due to gun violence, The Parris Foundation exists to provide counseling, outreach, and educational services to disenfranchised communities.

We believe if someone has the desire to make different, healthier choices than those in the community around them, and they’re brave enough to ask for help, they deserve the opportunity to create a brighter future.

Dr. Katherine Bacon had Parris while living in foster care at only 14 years old.

One day, The TRIO Program — something she’d never heard of before — pulled her and some other students out of class to ask if anyone was interested in going to college.

Dr. Bacon knew a better education was the only way to turn her situation around, so she built up the courage to raise her hand. That’s when everything changed.

Over the next few years, The TRIO program supported Dr. Bacon to pursue a college education and connected her to community resources that helped her raise Parris in a loving environment.

The TRIO program saved her life. It gave her access to options she didn’t even know existed. It also inspired Parris to become the generous, caring, and bright young man everyone remembers him as to this day.


A TEEN MOM TURNED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WHO OVERCAME ALL ODDS

The heart of Dr. Katherine Bacon

Parris R. Gaehring wasn’t your average 16-year-old.

Apart from being a Dean’s List and dual enrollment student, Parris was the kind of teen who didn’t mind tutoring his friends after school. He taught math in Spanish to adults earning their GED in the evenings. He might have made some unwise choices that cost him community service hours, but even when his requirements were met, it didn’t matter. He kept coming back because he enjoyed serving his community.

Parris was dynamic and complex. Imperfect, yes. But it was clear he cared about his neighborhood and the people in it.

While he didn’t allow his past to define his future, in 2008, he tragically lost his life to homicide at the expense of someone else’s harmful choices.

Today, his community and the people who loved him choose to remember Parris not as a victim, but as an overcomer. Parris had the boldness to create a life beyond what society expected of him. Everyone he interacted with was better because of it.


A SON WHO CHERISHED LIFE AND LEFT A LEGACY

Who was Parris R. Gaehring?

Our hope is to empower every individual who may be facing dire circumstances to know they aren’t alone. Positive pathways are always within reach. All it takes is raising a hand and asking for help.

No matter who they are or where they come from

The Parris Foundation envisions a future where all communities have equal access to higher learning, resources for mental wellness, and healthier life choices

Opportunity is the bridge to impact

THESE ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES WE CREATED IN 2021

94% OF STUDENTS IN OUR PROGRAMS MAINTAINED A 2.5 GPA

77.5% STUDENTS WENT ON TO PURSUE A POST SECONDARY EDUCATION

384 VICTIMS WERE SERVED WITH OVER 1,416 COUNSELING SERVICES

87 COMMUNITY OUTREACH EVENTS TOOK PLACE FOR 1,262 INDIVIDUALS

18 PRACTICE-WIDE TRAININGS WERE HELD FOR 206 PROFESSIONALS

We’re also proud partners of

Meet our diverse leadership team and program staff

Executive Director


Katherine Bacon

Director of
Education & Outreach


alfred bacon

Director of
Counseling & Wellness


alba serrano

Director of Upward Bound Hastings and Taylor



kwincy chavis-jones

Director of Upward Bound Hightower and Marshall



christina jewett

Director of Upward Bound Dulles Willowridge

Pamela Bentley

Join us today and help us make a difference in the lives of first-generation students, crime victims, and their families

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By offering educational programs and counseling services, we lift up underserved individuals with resources to transform their future.