I am from a province in the Dominican Republic called Angelina. My story is a bit sad because I was married with two children, and my wife died from an aneurysm. I was left with two teenagers, and while they were studying and I was working, I decided to travel and seek a visa for my family. I entered the United States as an immigrant on July 30, 2021. From there, I met my current wife, who had also lost her father. I decided to marry her and leave everything in the Dominican Republic, which was a paradise for me, and come to this concrete jungle to try to succeed and move forward. Since I arrived, I've faced many challenges.


But my biggest challenge has been the language barrier and starting from scratch. In the Dominican Republic, I had worked as an accounting manager, supply analyst, and salesman. It was very difficult for me to suddenly have to speak broken English, where people might think my academic level is much lower. I haven't gone back to the Dominican Republic because when I decide to undertake something, I have to see the end goal. So I started doing delivery for FedEx and later began the process to work for the MTA.  I paid the fee to apply, and two months later, I received an invitation to take the exam. Luckily, it was a written exam because it was about 30 pages. I passed my oral exam, which was another challenge because I had to describe all the parts of a school bus in English. Additionally, you have to perform a series of inspection processes in English. That was my hardest challenge, and I had to memorize many words. Thank God, I passed it. English has been my biggest barrier, and I have to break it.


When I arrived at Open Door, I had already been here for over a year. My son, Luis Raul, brought me because he was also studying there. In the Dominican Republic, I was part of some foundations that helped people, and then I came to this country where my son opened the door for me in a foundation to learn English. Life takes unexpected turns. I went from being in a country where I gave everything to now not being able to give much because I don't know much. That's why I want to learn English, so I can help other people. If I could speak and understand English perfectly, I would be helping not only at Open Door but wherever they needed me because I know there are many people here who need a helping hand. I have many people from my hometown who have entered New York in the last three months. These are people who really need a friend's hand, and I have connected many of them with Open Door to open doors for them.


Serving others has always been in my veins, so my desire is to gather immigrants together and help them. Not only those from my hometown but every person who came here because they fled for economic reasons, political problems, persecution, or racism, etc. People who are undocumented or who haven't returned to their country in 15 years and have even lost their parents. But to help them, I have to progress because I am at a level where I can't do much. Open Door opened the door for me to learn the language. I put a lot of effort into it. With the tasks and homework they give me, I work hard to study in my free time. I am very happy with Open Door because I have seen how they treat immigrant people who cannot fend for themselves.  In fact, the first day I fell in love with Open Door, my son told me, "Dad, we have to bring something because there's a group of immigrants who arrived and are in a shelter, and Open Door is going to bring them some personal hygiene items." When I saw that, I said, "It's worth coming here." They give everything, and I am very grateful to have found them. With both my classmates and the teachers, I feel like another family member. Like a stubborn young boy who comes to someone else's home and doesn't want to leave. That's how I feel.