Written by: Daniella Sinofsky
When Deidra Simon moved to Florida in 2004, she never would have thought she would become the new Deaf Consumer Coordinator for the Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC). She changed her career, learned a new language and even became the community interpreter. Now, her life has completely changed not only for herself but for the people of Jacksonville.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Deidra and talk about her her history with sign language and the future with The ILRC. She explained to me that, “I thought I would be able to learn this new language in a matter of weeks and wow I was wrong!” Little did she know that there were diverse grammar rules and linguistics that were included in sign language. Deidra’s first interpreting job was with Pinedale Elementary School in Jacksonville. She loved teaching students a new language and was over joyed how eager they were to learn such an intricate language. Even when Deidra went on maternity leave for her first son, she still volunteered at churches to do whatever she could to help the deaf community.
Now, Deidra has been given the opportunity to be the new Deaf Consumer Coordinator for the ILRC. She has taken on responsibilities ranging from helping the deaf fill out paperwork and applications to handling business problems and issues. Recently, Deidra hosted a social gathering for the deaf community around Jacksonville. There Angela McKinley, the previous Coordinator, introduced the community to Deidra. Deidra told me with a happy heart that, “We filled up the entire conference room! I told everyone about the future events The ILRC will host and the future we have together.”
After talking with Deidra, it’s clear to see that the local deaf community has a wonderful leader that will be with them in the long run.