Justice & Diversity Center Honors Volunteer Interpreter Brooke Gutierrez

Brooke-GutierrezThe Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) is pleased to honor Brooke Gutierrez as our Volunteer of the Month for August 2013. Gutierrez began volunteering with JDC in 2010, first in its Destination Law School program, then as an intern for the Housing Negotiation Project. She currently volunteers for the JDC Interpreter Program, providing assistance to low-income monolingual clients in their landlord tenant, family law and consumer defense cases.

Gutierrez enjoys interpreting as a means of helping others in the community while continuing to use her native language, Spanish. She has particular interest in eviction defense cases, and through her assistance, several clients have been able to settle their cases without going to trial.

Born in Peru and raised in the Mission district of San Francisco, Gutierrez is the first generation of her family to go to college in the U.S. When she isn’t interpreting, she enjoys playing music, dancing, and being an Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) river rafting guide for people with disabilities.

Although Gutierrez finds great joy in interpreting, she also recognizes the challenges involved. “It’s hard sometimes not to get involved in the emotions clients are experiencing,” she says. But she appreciates playing a role in monolingual clients receiving much needed help.

Gutierrez plans to apply to law school to continue serving low-income individuals as an attorney. According to Gutierrez, “my experience with JDC has assured me that this is the route I’m supposed to be taking. I now know that studying the legal system and becoming a lawyer will allow me to make a lasting and profound difference in peoples’ lives, as well as in mine as a Hispanic woman.”

If you would like more information on the JDC Interpreter Program, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at probono@sfbar.org.

The author, Angela Sarakan, is the Bilingual Client Advocate for the Justice & Diversity Center