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.

Accompaniment NEAT Stories

Welcoming Asylum Seekers From Ukraine

Through the Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team (NEAT) program, your support of IM4HI has helped ease the transition for 269 newly arrived immigrants fleeing war, climate change, and instability from countries all around the world.

Your support helps people like Kate and Alex, from Ukraine, gain footing and heal after fleeing the ongoing violence and devastation of war.

Kate and Alex speak at Sherith Israel, Feb 2023

Kate reached out to IM4HI while she and her husband were still in Europe, urgently seeking contacts and support in the U.S. We were able to match them with St. Mary the Virgin and Sherith Israel congregations, who agreed to accompany them upon arrival. Kate shares that knowing trustworthy people would be there to receive them meant all the world, helping them feel less alone and alleviating some of the stress and trauma as they fled their home country. 

As they continue settling in and rebuilding their lives, Kate shares her gratitude: “St. Mary the Virgin and Sherith Israel have been helping us for over six months. They helped us to find and partly sponsored a wonderful, cozy, and bright apartment, found an immigration lawyer, taught us English, helped us with knowledge and advice, and involved us in all activities so that we would be fully integrated into American society. We are the lucky ones because all the holidays in the USA we now celebrate together. The most important thing is that I know for sure that each of the members of the group sincerely worries about us. And today I can say with confidence that they are our second family here in the United States.”

As faith communities we have welcomed families that have had to  flee war, violence, and economic instability from all over the world, including Haiti, Nigeria, Ghana, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Laos, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador, among others.

Alex sharing about his experience fleeing Ukraine, 2022
Accompaniment NEAT Stories

San Francisco Interfaith Council hosts Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team (NEAT) Program

Video – “How Congregations Can Support Newly Arrived Asylum Seekers in San Francisco” – by IM4HI NEAT

The San Francisco Interfaith Council (SFIC) 94th Online Briefing for Community and Faith Partners welcomed Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity’s Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team (NEAT) Program Manager Kelly Younger, who offered an overview of her organization’s important work, the danger of exploiting unknowing immigrants for political gain, and practical ways in which San Francisco congregations can support newly arrived asylum seekers.

Also participating were Zoom Briefing Moderator/SFIC Executive Director Michael Pappas, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav Rabbi Mychal Copeland, San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA) Deputy Director Richard Whipple and Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (NEAT) Program Coordinator Nadia Tavera Medina.

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