Beyond Emancipation


Although he is only 20 years old, Noel has been working toward a career in audio technology for nearly a decade.

The group home he lived in during seventh grade “felt like a prison,” he says. “I had nothing to do.” So he began writing lyrics and doing audio production in his room.

“I dropped my first beat when I was 13, and ever since then, I’ve been working toward my major.”

NoelWith the support of B:E’s B2B program, Noel is completing an AA in Television Broadcasting and Radio at Laney College, and will be transferring to San Francisco State in the fall to complete his BA.  He would like to double major in social work and audio technology as his long range plans include opening a nonprofit serving foster youth.

Noel has taken full advantage of the many resources available through B2B.

“The BE staff are really awesome and genuine,” Noel says. “I feel I can be myself with them without being scrutinized. They’re really supportive about what I have to say.”

This sense of support is important, says Noel, for foster youth who “often don’t have the courage to express what they really want to do in life or in school because they feel so limited in finances that they often settle for less,” he says.  “B2B helped me see it’s not just a dream – it can be a reality.”

B:E provided Noel with transportation support, school supplies, and even helped him purchase a camera, which is essential to his coursework. “My camera is my tool,” he says. “I use it for class all the time.”

Currently working at Youth Radio as a newsroom editor and member of the youth advisory board, Noel appreciates the many different paths available in the audio technology field.

“It’s used in soundscaping, music, movies,” he says. “It’s something I can express myself with and am very passionate about.  If you can make something inspiring from sound, why not get paid for it?”

Forging his path to a career is especially important to Noel, who says he “thinks constantly: Am I going to be all right once I get exited when I turn 21?”

He knows he can count on B:E for support, and especially appreciates the coaching model.  “I really like the way they talk to us,” he says.  “They treat us like the young adults that we are. They listen unconditionally.”