Salem, Oregon. – Bridges Oregon is pleased to announce the addition of five new board members: Amanda Rayfield, Damara Paris, Monique Griffin, Stephanie McClure, and Whitney Edmunson. All of these new appointees bring extensive knowledge of advocacy, case management, grant writing, policy development, and fundraising to the organization’s leadership, and we look forward to their advisors as we continue our work to expand the much-needed service to Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Oregonians.
Amanda is a Foster Home Certifier for the Oregon Department of Human Services Child Welfare program. Her focus is to provide training to families who wish to expand through foster care or adoption. During her time with the agency, Amanda has worked with the state to improve access to linguistically appropriate training for workers and families, including interpreting services and captioning of all education materials.
Amanda graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ASL/English Interpreting from Western Oregon University in 2015. In addition to her work, she remains active in the community through volunteering and providing language tutoring with the Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center. Amanda is inspired by the mission of Bridges Oregon and is delighted to support the development of an organization valuing inclusiveness and equality for all Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people in Oregon.
Damara Goff Paris received her Doctorate in education from Lamar University and her Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling from Western Oregon University. Dr. Paris has worked in private, non-profit, government, and university environments. She has published six books, including Step into the Circle, a collection of biographies about Deaf Native Americans, and served as the president of the National Intertribal Deaf Council from 2002-2006. Damara as a co-editor recently published a book on “Deaf People in the Criminal Justice System” and is an immediate past president of ADARA. She has also been the recipient of several national awards. Dr. Paris currently works as an Associate Professor of Counselor Education at Emporia State University.
Monique is a sophomore pre-law student at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. Her goal is to become a lawyer so she can participate in the effort to change a system that was not designed by people like her and does not work for so many marginalized people.
She is proudly tri-cultural: a bi-racial Black trans woman raised in a primarily-white Deaf household where American Sign Language was her first language.
Born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, her early experiences included not only racism and transphobia in public schools but also having to help her mom navigate the bureaucratic social services. As a result, she has dedicated her life to creating equitable systems for all people.
In addition to attending school full-time, she works two jobs, closely follows politics, and volunteers in a variety of ways in the community.
Stephanie is the Director of Oregon Health and Science University’s Confidential Advocacy Program, which provides comprehensive advocacy services to members who have experienced violence or discrimination. She has been working with survivors, communities, agencies, and universities on addressing and preventing gender-based violence, discrimination, and violence since 2008.
While developing a university advocacy program in Utah, she learned of and built a partnership with the Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf, together working to reduce barriers for Deaf survivors to access culturally specific advocacy services in northern Utah. She is thrilled to be supporting the development of Oregon’s first Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing nonprofit organization to provide advocacy services in Oregon.
Whitney Edmunson is a proud “Deaf-heart” who seeks to listen and engage with the Deaf Community while simultaneously advocating for it. Whitney began her immersion into the Deaf World in 2010 when she changed her major from Nursing to Sign Language Interpreting. This is where she became aware of the common misconceptions of what it means to be Deaf, and her passion now is to raise awareness in the world at large that Deaf Culture is something to be valued and respected.
She is the Co-Pastor of Deaf Ekklesia, alongside her husband, Boaz Edmunson. Together, they raise a Korean-American CODA and seek opportunities to provide for underprivileged populations as a family. Their hearts indwell daily amongst Oregon School for the Deaf (OSD) and annually with Northwest Christian Camp for the Deaf (NWCCD) as they continuously serve in these spaces.
Whitney coordinates and hosts fundraisers such as book drives, dessert auctions, and spaghetti dinners to support the Deaf Community’s goals. She looks forward to applying her ambition to contribute to Bridges in this way and others as needed.
“We are excited about these individuals agreeing to work with our Board to further the mission of Bridges Oregon,” said Chad A. Ludwig, Executive Director. Each brings unique experiences, skills, and perspectives to help our Board grow as we, collectively, expand strategic growth in response to the need in our Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing communities.
For more information about the Board and how to join on the Board team, go to https://bridgesoregon.org/board-members/ or contact the Bridges Oregon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (971) 202-1500.
About Bridges Oregon:
Bridges Oregon is a nonprofit for Oregonians who are Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing or face other communication barriers. It is in our mission to facilitate equity, inclusiveness, and to provide a bridge to opportunities through advocacy, education, and communication.
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