Elizabeth Ozimek, Team Lead for the Bainbridge Prepares’ Interpretation Team, was looking for a way to engage her team and connect. The COVID pandemic made the task challenging as did the way the team formed, which was largely through people signing up to help with interpretation at vaccination and COVID testing clinics. So she came up with an online method for introducing teammates to one another.
Her strategy was to elicit teammate information via an online form and then to create Volunteer Spotlights using Canva to share with the team via email. Ozimek said, “This was an easy and fun way to get more info.”
As you can see from the featured image, Ozimek asked volunteers to specify the languages for which they are able to interpret, the Bainbridge neighborhood where they live, and just a bit about their hobbies and interests. Ready Raccoon speaks Raccoon, lives in a Large Tree, and enjoys climbing and bird seed.
The Interpretation Team is at the ready to offer language assistance at emergency hubs during a disaster. But they also provide assistance for less-emergent needs. For example, recently, the Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center reached out to Elizabeth to find a Mam translator. Mam is a Mayan language spoken by half a million people in Guatemala. Although there’s no one on the team who speaks Mam, Ozimek was able to point the KIAC in the direction of someone who does.
The team is currently comprised of 29 people who are interpreters for a range of languages in addition to English, including Spanish, American Sign Language, French, German, Swedish, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada. The team is actively looking for volunteers, including Vietnamese and Korean speakers.
Interested in signing up for the Interpretation Team? Contact the team here.