Spanish Interpreters are needed in Corvallis and this is how YOU can help

Vincent Ho, News Contributor

There is a need for Spanish speaking volunteers in Corvallis.

Across Corvallis, there are many places that need Spanish speakers in order to volunteer to help around the community.

Some of these places include schools, donation centers and medical clinics.

Since there are no formal Spanish classes at Franklin K-8 and Garfield Elementary, Oregon State University Spanish speaking students can sign up for an internship opportunity to volunteer and help teach Spanish at these schools. 

Students like Maya Sonpatki, Bio Health Science and Spanish Major, currently volunteer for the program at Franklin School.

Raven Chakerian, the senior instructor of Spanish and Italian and head coordinator of the program, started while she was teaching Portland State University. She started a senior capstone that involved students doing similar tasks to what the current program was doing. 

“Students just get something out of it that they don’t get sitting in the classroom which I found really exciting, so when I came here I wanted to start something like that,” Chakerian said.

These students go out to these schools for two hours a week to teach students how to speak Spanish.

“I really enjoy the opportunity to be able to ignite that spark and that passion for language learning in these students and to give them an opportunity that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” Sonpatki said.

There are also many off campus locations that need Spanish speaking volunteers. Community Outreach Incorporated, which is a transitional housing facility that houses a medic clinic, food pantries, dental clinic and women’s clinic is also in need of Spanish speaking volunteers. 

The reason given by Angelina Rivas, the client resources coordinator for Community Outreach Incorporated, is that there are a large portion of Spanish only speakers who come to the clinic.

“We need them in all areas but specifically Medical and Dental Clinics because that’s where we see the highest population of Spanish only speakers” Rivas said.

While it is encouraged to volunteer at the medical and dental clinics, Rivas said that places like the food pantry also need volunteers who can speak Spanish and English.

Another location that needs Spanish speaking volunteers is Vina Moses. Vina Moses is a donation center that markets itself as a “thrift store where everything is free”. 

They also have an Emergency Financial Assistance Program that “can also assist with rent, utility, prescriptions, and other urgent financial needs.” 

The Vina Moses website encourages anyone who is able to speak is encouraged to help volunteer for them.

The role where the donation center needs Spanish speakers the most is as an office assistant. This role actively involves speaking to patrons of the store and answering the phone. 

The website asks that anyone who signs up for this role be comfortable with the Google suite and would prefer anyone who signs up to be Bilingual English/Spanish.

According to Chakerian, she wants to expand out the Spanish internship program at OSU to help both Vina Moses and Community Outreach Incorporated in the future. 

“Formalizing relationships with these organizations would help fill a need in our community while also giving OSU students the opportunity to do something hands on,” Chakerian said.

Chakerian also said that students who are interested in this program should contact her to learn more.

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