The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) is pleased to recognize Mónica Rodríguez as volunteer of the month for August 2016. Rodriguez is an interpreter for JDC’s family law and eviction defense cases, as well as its Housing Negotiation Project.
Originally from Colombia, Rodriguez has lived in the Bay Area for six years. She works as a professional interpreter for administrative hearings at the DMV and other government agencies. As her work leaves a flexible schedule, she is happy to dedicate her time to volunteering with JDC.
She first got involved with JDC after researching volunteering opportunities in the Bay Area, seeking hands-on experience working with attorneys and practicing legal terminology. “Of course, there is also the humanitarian reason of being able to lend a hand to low-income clients.”
Rodriguez always finds volunteering immensely rewarding – although legal interpreting presents a unique set of challenges.
She frequently witnesses the stress, burden and even desperation of tenants living in awful conditions, and when in court, interpreters must refrain from displaying any sign of emotions through hand or facial gestures. She finds it can be challenging to avoid such displays, “especially when going through evidentiary material such as pictures or videos that depict strong content.” Despite these challenges, Rodriguez always feels well-appreciated by attorneys and clients alike.
She hopes to use her experience with JDC to one day work as a professional court interpreter. Volunteering with JDC gives her exposure to the legal profession as well as invaluable experience practicing her Spanish legal terminology. When not working professionally or volunteering, she enjoys dancing as well as reading to continue honing her skills.
Learn about JDC’s Pro Bono Legal Services Programs volunteer opportunities at www.sfbar.org/volunteer.