The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Helen Lee Soli, a Cantonese interpreter who has been volunteering with us since 2005.
“I’m an immigrant myself. As a kid I had to help my parents interpret and translate when we first moved to this country, so it only seems natural for me to help others in this manner,” Helen explains. “I also wanted to do something … convenient around my work schedule, and the San Francisco Bar was the perfect place for this type of arrangement.” Thirteen years later, Helen continues to lend her interpretation skills to JDC and its clients.
One of Helen’s most challenging – and rewarding – volunteer experiences involved a domestic violence case. It was the first time she’d met a survivor of domestic violence, and the difficulty of the situation was quickly apparent. “It’s not just physical violence, but the psychological damage…. It’s very complex … in particular when the economic and language barriers are in place.” Through Helen’s assistance, however, her client was able to overcome these obstacles and escape an abusive relationship. “Once you meet someone in this type of situation, you can’t help but want to help, especially being a woman myself.”
Although she grew up in New York City and still finds San Francisco “quite small” by comparison, Helen loves the food, arts and entertainment, people watching, and “amazing redwood trees and hiking trails just minutes from our doorstep.” Working in Analyst Relations with a large tech company, Helen appreciates the opportunity to put her interpersonal skills to good use and support the organization’s philanthropic work in education, sustainability, and strengthening communities. Naturally, one of Helen’s longer-term career goals is to become more involved in community services.
To learn more about our Interpreter Project and how to volunteer, visit us at http://www.sfbar.org/jdc/legal-services/volunteering-non-attys.aspx or contact JDC’s volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have the most need for Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese but welcome all languages.