Deaf community asking for more interpreters

Communication is part of our everyday lives but just imagine how it would feel to lose the ability to hear or speak.

No one probably understands that more than 24 year old Ana Chavez.

She not only was born profoundly deaf but her entire family also suffers from the same disability.

I grew up with a lot of challenges, said Chavez. It was pretty difficult."

Now that she's older the Harlingen native said those challenges have only gotten worse.

They don TMt want to hire a person that TMs deaf, said Chavez. Here in the valley it TMs very frustrating looking work the deaf are discriminated against.. it TMs very difficult finding a job.

According to Chavez, the valley is really behind in terms of services for the hard of hearing.

One of the most obvious problems she pointed out is the lack of interpreters in the RGV especially during emergencies.

Diana "Pepper" Mendez is a well known interpreter among the deaf community in the valley.

She told Action 4 there isn TMt enough interpreters in the valley.

The statistic is staggering, according to Mendez there are only about 44 interpreters to serve the nearly 10-thousand people who are either deaf or hard of hearing.

A brutal fact that Mendez said is affecting every aspect of those in the deaf communities TM lives.

Luckily one valley school is listening.

South Texas College is the first valley school to offer an interpretor certification and this December they'll graduate their first group of students.

Joann Vasquez is one of those students enrolled in the program she said she TMs eager to start working and give the deaf a stronger voice.

STC will hold an ADA Awareness Day on October 25th at their Pecan Campus.

If you would like more information on the interpreter program at STC contact Jovanda Delgado at (956) 872-2015