San Diego County RID (SCRID) Affiliate Chapter Update:

Hello Region V! Since we have many new board members, I thought it would be a good time to introduce you to our fabulous team; San Diego County’s RID Board of Directors. We are looking for a new Community Interpreting Representative. If you are in our Chapter’s jurisdiction and interested, please do contact me. – Mala,


Mala Poe, President, San Diego County RIDPresident

Mala Poe has an Education Specialist degree (Ed.S.) in Deaf Education: Applied Linguistics as well as a Masters degree in Linguistics, both from Gallaudet University. She has been a member of the Deaf community since 1986, and holds national certifications in interpreting from RID and NAD. She is a staff interpreter for Deaf faculty at the University of California San Diego. Occasionally, Mala world as a freelance interpreter and is a presenter on topics dealing with individuals who are Deaf-Blind. She is serving her third year as President for SDCRID. Prior to serving as President, Mala served as Vice-President for a few years after being the Professional Development Chair. On the state level, she continues to be the Listserv moderator for RID’s Deaf-Blind Member Section and has now transitioned back to the Region V Representative. Her passion is traveling within her region to provide workshops, exposing people to ideas of interpreting with Deaf-Blind people. In the little spare time that she has, she enjoys volunteering at Deaf Community events, whether interpreting or coordinating events and working with the annual Susan G Komen Foundation as part of the Moto Route Safety Crew. Her favorite things to do always include spending time with her husband, Eric, and dog Juno.


Judith A. Kroeger, Vice President, San Diego County RIDVice-President

Judith A. Kroeger graduated with a Master of Arts in Deaf Education and holds a California teaching credential Educational Specialist: Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Her background in education complements her experience as an interpreter and Associate of Arts in ASL/English Interpreting. Judith is RID certified and has interpreted in various settings including educational, both K-12 and college level, video relay, and general community. In working as a community representative with SDCRID, Judith meet with interpreters in discussion groups, not only to discuss the current issues they face on a daily basis but action items that have led to both local and national changes.

Judith is involved with RID at the national level as chair of the Video Interpreter Member Section for the last year. She is also on RID’s legislative task force currently focusing on issues facing educational interpreters and video interpreters. Along with RID, Judith is involved with CAL-ED (California Educators or the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) as the Area VII representative.

With several years of experience working with SDCRID and other organizations, Judith hopes to continue as vice president in an effort to make this a truly member-driven organization.


Jillean Reitz, Secretary, San Diego County RIDSecretary

Jillean Reitz, graduated from a local interpreting training program to join the interpreting field in high schools, but got her start with a much younger age bracket. As a one-on-one signing aide she worked in the Pre-K forum and quickly moved to Elementary School. Then as an interpreter in high schools and has spent the past year and a half in post-secondary and community interpreting. In 2009, after earning her RID certification, she continued to pursue a variety of interpreting experiences as well as furthering her professional education. She has rejoined the interpreting staff at Deaf Community Services; as both an Educational/ Community Interpreter and as Co-Coordinator of the DCS-Internship Program. Juggling and scheduling multiple responsibilities both professionally and personally has become an enjoyable challenge and a successful balancing act.

When Jillean is not working she is a fully devoted mother of twins, ‘Soccer and Swim mom,’ loves getting in the kitchen to cook OR bake (especially with the twins) and delights in time spent with friends and family. She has enjoyed volunteering for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer walk and CPR Saturday. In the past year she has been fortunate to dive into the world of Deaf-Blind Interpreting and found an additional new family, both here and on the East Coast! This new found Deaf-Blind experience has allowed for not only new travel and friendships, but also a great and curious new vision of the future.


Amber Gilbert, Treasurer, San Diego County RIDTreasurer
Amber Gilbert graduated from CSUN with a B.A. in Deaf Studies Sigma Cum laude in 2004. In her time there, she was a member of many clubs and organizations including DeafCSUNians, Associated students, InterFraternal Council and PanHellenic Student Organization. She is a proud sister of Alpha Sigma Theta sorority, one of the largest and longest standing sororities with a majority Deaf membership. During her years as an active sister, she held many positions on the board and executive board. Upon graduation, Amber stayed around CSUN, interpreting for the National Center on Deafness, and participated in theatrical stage productions which lead her to the stage of DeafWest in North Hollywood with a role in Tuc’s story, A Taste of Sunrise. That, along with her life-long participation in theater, led Amber to interpret for some of the world’s largest names on stages around California and Hawaii. After moving to 3 different states and broadening her horizons, Amber headed back home where she co-founded a soccer organization, worked in her family’s business and joined many initiatives and coalitions around the San Diego area. She currently works for DCS as a staff interpreter, Sorenson Video Relay and runs her own business as an Independent Sales rep for Silpada Designs Jewelry. Her varied life and business experiences have finally led her to a position on the SDCRID executive Board where she hopes to continue a positive legacy built by those before her.


Johnny, Deaf Representative, San Diego County RIDDeaf Representative
Johnny is 6’6” and wears shoe size 13…and loves tomatoes. He is the kind of guy you want to bump into in the sometimes-dark alley of the interpreting world. He has worked with and utilized interpreters all his life, from elementary school to college and has faced many possible scenarios. His experience helped him train and educate interpreters in the legal, theatrical and especially medicinal fields. Empowering the community is always his ultimate goal. He is currently working on his BA in debate/speech and pursuing Deaf interpreter certification.




Robert Rukavina, student representative, San Diego County RIDStudent Representative
Robert Rukavina was introduced when he was a kid. His mother started learning sign language when the Post Office she worked at hired two Deaf men which piqued Robert’s curiosity. This interest was rekindled when he volunteered for a youth support group and planned a workshop. It was important for to the support group to provide Deaf access. Today, Robert is still striving to improve his skills. Do to so, he has attended four workshops in the past year, two on classifiers and will be attending Gallaudet for a two-week intensive ASL study program. While in the first year of the interpreter training program Robert was the treasurer and the class president. He mentors people in his personal life and in different professional fields. Ultimately, Robert’s goal is to attend Gallaudet for his BA. He is excited to meet and learn from the different interpreters in the field and to work with and encourage his fellow students.



Jazmyne Lemar, student representative, San Diego County RIDStudent Representative
Jazmyne Lemar is a San Diego native, recently graduated from San Diego State University receiving a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, emphasizing in Multimedia in 2011. Immediately after graduating, Jazmyne enrolled in San Diego Mesa College Interpreting program. She has been involved within the Deaf community for three plus years, and tremendously enjoys working with the Deaf. She likes to encourage the student interpreters at Mesa College to get more involved by attending different events and workshops. Jazmyne strives to be a good role model to the student interpreters and future student interpreters at Mesa College as the Student Representative for SDCRID.

Sacramento Valley RID (SaVRID) Affiliate Chapter Update:I am proud to state that SaVRID is as strong as ever. We have an incredibly active body of members who understand the importance of what we do; how what we do ties into the workings of RID and how that work trickles down to impact our communities. SaVRID also recognizes that the pulse of RID has begun to again reflect on the importance of the Deaf heart and the magnitude of that being at the foundation of our national organization. SaVRID therefore also has a responsibility and should be connecting with the Deaf in our membership and in our community. To meet the goal of incorporating Deaf heart on a local level, we recently held two very successful workshops, “Deaf Interpreters: Educational Foundations” presented by Carole Lazorisak, M.A., RSC, CDI, and, “Deafhood for Interpreters: Becoming a Better Ally” presented by Kevin Clark, M.A. The turnout at each of these workshops was substantial and the evaluative feedback received proves that the community is eager to foster growth opportunities for all of the members we serve.Staying membership focused has remained one of the top priorities for the Board of Directors. The current board, with valuable input from the membership, has been hard at work over the last several months revamping the organizations bylaws and drafting philosophy and diversity statements that we hope will carry our organization further towards success, inclusion and sustainability. To that end, as the members of the current Board of Directors approach the end of their terms in office, we felt that it was of importance to update our Policies and Procedures Manual (PPM) so that incoming board members will have something to look towards for guidance and so that interested individuals could have a document to look at to see the type of good work is done by those who serve SaVRID.Staying membership driven is what has allowed SaVRID to continue to shine as one of the outstanding chapters of RID!

group photo of SaVRID members at the 2012 RID Region V Conference in Hawaii

SaVRID members at the 2012 RID Region V Conference in Hawaii