By Pauline Jelinek

Photo by John Bass for the American Red Cross

Juanita Jean-Simmons- Long Beach/Rio Hondo Chapter in California

A long-time world traveler with extensive language skills, Juanita Jean-Simmons was helping people affected by Hurricane Irma this week as an American Red Cross translator for Spanish, French and Creole speakers as well as those who use American Sign Language.

A volunteer since 2011, Juanita deployed to Florida from the Long Beach/Rio Hondo Chapter in California. She joined the Red Cross because she’s “passionate about helping on a global level,” having traveled and lived around the world over the last 33 years, including time in Liberia, Tel Aviv, Mexico and Cuba. She’s worked in various capacities overseas during those years, including as a free-lance translator.

Previous to her deployment to Florida for post-Irma work, Juanita also volunteered in Haiti with the Red Crescent and Dominica with Cruz Roja. She said she would love to spend more time with the Red Crescent and working with displaced refugees. Translators like Juanita play a vital role in helping individuals who do not speak English receive disaster assistance. If you are multi-lingual and are interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer, visit  or call your local Red Cross Chapter.


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