NEAT Stories

Meet Rodnoel

Rodnoel, upon graduating from Nueva Esperanza, painted a rock with his Venezuelan flag and the golden gate bridge as a keepsake memory of his time at Waller St.

We are proud to share the success story of Rodnoel, an asylum seeker from Venezuela.

Rodnoel: Dec 2021 – Venezuela

Accompanied by Congregation Sherith Israel and St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church

Noel came to the US by foot through the Darien Gap from Venezuela to escape political persecution.  In Venezuela, he had been a practicing attorney.  IM4HI and his accompaniment team flew him to SF to join our program from a shelter in San Antonio, Texas.  Noel first stayed for 3 months with two gay housing hosts in SF who generously offered him the spare room in their apartment.  They enjoyed practicing English together, leaving vocabulary sticky notes throughout the house of common household objects like “toaster” and “bread.”  Soon after, a San Francisco landlord attending Calvary Presbyterian church in SF offered him a 6-month stay in a reduced rate studio apartment.  This was an essential next housing option for Rodnoel as he needed to find a place during the holidays, which is nearly impossible.  

His team mobilized to find furniture and move him in so that he’d have a place to call home by Christmas.  He has since moved to San Rafael where he is enjoying full time work and close to a Venezuelan friend who he met on his journey here. To top it all off, he met the love of his life and is now engaged!  We look forward to his wedding and many years of happiness for them both.  Noel is now fluent in English and enjoys practicing his language skills when he gets together with his IM4HI volunteers.  

Read more on the St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church justice ministry website.