Volunteer Interpreter Steps Up For Immigrants Seeking Justice

donate-buttonThe Justice & Diversity Center’s (JDC) Volunteer of the Month is Jared Malakouti, who interprets for our Spanish-speaking clients and their pro bono lawyers. With dedicated volunteers like Malakouti, JDC can provide meaningful access to justice for monolingual people at depositions and meetings with their attorneys. Malakouti’s commitment to JDC’s clients is noteworthy; within the past year he has worked on six JDC eviction defense and family law cases.

He is glad to help monolingual immigrants, especially now, in a climate that can be challenging for them. Because the immigrant community enriches his life, Malakouti feels “the very least I can do is help a few people avoid eviction, deportation or assist them with obtaining a divorce.”

Malakouti aspires to help others, and to contribute more tolerance and cultural understanding to the world. Interpreting furthers these goals by allowing him to use his Spanish language skills in a meaningful way. He also appreciates that it nudges him out of his comfort zone while teaching him humility, patience and gratitude.

Because of these upsides to volunteering, Malakouti is glad he overcame his “nerve-wracking” anxiety the first time he interpreted. His services assisted more extensively in a settlement conference than he had expected. At the end, a woman facing eviction was able to stay in her home, thanks to her pro bono attorney and Malakouti.

Having moved from Moreno Valley to attend UC Berkeley three years ago, Malakouti loves the Bay Area weather, public transportation, innovation and progressiveness. In his free time, he enjoys Latin dancing, playing soccer and cooking.

If you’re bilingual and want to help us serve 300 monolingual clients a year, please contact probono@sfbar.org. Most of our interpreters speak Spanish, Cantonese or Mandarin, but some speak other languages, including Arabic, Russian, Tagalog, Farsi and Tigrinya.