Fredi is known for his big grin and positive attitude. He says, “It doesn’t matter where I go, I think it’s a good day. Some people say I’ve never had anything bad happen to me, but I have.”
Fredi fled El Salvador in 2006 when a friend of his faced serious violence from gangs. The two traveled north on “La Bestia” before splitting up just outside of Mexico City. Fredi’s friend traveled into the city and was eventually deported by Mexican officials. Fredi continued north and ended up working construction in Texas for 6 years.
Despite challenges like these, Fredi stays positive—and works hard.
In 2012, he traveled north again. This time it was to Seattle on a Grey Hound bus. With $700 in his pocket when he arrived, Fredi was able to rent a hotel room for himself, but the money didn’t last long. After just a few weeks here, he had no work and no place to live. He began sleeping under an I-5 bridge where, he said, “you’re always scared that someone will rob you or hit you.”
Luckily for Fredi, a kind companion under the bridge told him about Casa Latina. When Fredi started in our work dispatch program, his good attitude and diligence were so apparent he only went out on a couple jobs before he found employers that provided him with steady work. The money he earned helped him find a new safe place to live after just a couple weeks of jobs. Eventually, he began focusing on developing a portfolio of yardwork clients. In the Greenwood neighborhood, for example, he has whole blocks of houses that use his services because of positive word of mouth. Thanks to meeting employers through Casa Latina, Fredi has been able to support his family—a wife and new baby—here and send money to his mother every month in El Salvador.
Today Fredi continues with his yardwork clients and works on staff at Casa Latina. He’s also received a scholarship through the University of Washington to continue upper level OSHA certifications. He’s licensed to give OSHA 10-hour classes and OSHA 30-hour classes. Though he had to give up some of his clients to make time for being a trainer at Casa Latina, he’s proud that he can now contribute to an organization that helped him succeed.
“Everyone,” he says, “thinks that in the U.S. there are many opportunities. That if you work hard, you’ll go far, but I’ve always said that if there isn’t anyone to give you an opportunity you can’t work hard. That’s what Casa Latina is for me, the opportunity to work hard.” We’re so proud to have given someone as positive and hardworking as Fredi the opportunity to succeed that he deserves!