Puentes Community Translators Helps Immigrants by Training Translators
Krizia Lopez (Chinese 2010) founded Puentes Community Translators in Queens, New York with the mission of reducing language and resource barriers for immigrants by training local bilingual young adults in the community as translators. Supported by a 2020 CLS Alumni Development Fund grant, Krizia had partnered with a local high school to hold in-person training for Spanish and Chinese-speaking students after school twice a week beginning in April, but had to pivot her training program in response to the pandemic. Due to the challenges of working with high school students amidst the COVID crisis, Krizia decided to engage and train college students and other adults in the local community, working to provide translation services to organizations assisting with the emergency response to the pandemic.
She engaged the local community in Queens by raising awareness at Community Board Meetings and with local businesses. The pandemic having left local service providers overwhelmed, Krizia was able to organize a roster of translation volunteers in the area who helped with translating for the emergency COVID response.
"At the heart of any emergency response is the moral imperative to ensure all people have equal access to the assistance they need. Puentes Community Translators is one way to begin making that vision a reality. This experience has inspired me to pursue a career in international humanitarian response and policy with the goal of ensuring essential societal services and infrastructure includes additional protections for vulnerable/under resourced immigrant communities."
April 12, 2021