The Deaf Empowerment Abroad Foundation Team

We are a volunteer driven nonprofit, collaborating with Jamaica's Deaf schools and Deaf community leaders. We are comprised of Certified Sign Language Interpreters, Deaf professionals, Deaf Educators,  ASL Professors, and SIgn Language Linguist. Together we strive to eliminate societies stigma of “Deaf Can’t” by showing “Deaf Can!”

Diane BioPic

Diane Black - Founder     “Give Love, Be Kind, Do Good, Help Others”

  • Why are you a part of the D-E-A-F team? During a 2006 family vacation in Jamaica, I met a Deaf gentleman and learned about the oppression the community faces. This meeting sparked a will in me to affect change. As a professional interpreter, I am committed to give back to the community that has given me my career. There are no boarders between Deaf communities and in Jamaica the need for support is great. My purpose was clear to me.
  • If I was an animal, I would be an Otter. I love their overflowing positive energy, lovable personality and are family oriented.
  • I have been married for 27 years, have two sons.
Rachel BioPic

Rachel Elliott - Vice President     “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” - Dr. Seuss

  • Why did I get involved in D-E-A-F?   After visiting Jamaica and several Deaf schools in the country, I fell in love with the culture.   I saw a need in services and knew that we could join forces and work together.  It is a core belief of mine to give back and invest in others. Often times that is where we learn the greatest life lessons. 
  • If I was an animal, I would be a zebra.   I think they have a very unique look and their stripes are so fun. 
  • Hobby:  I love to dance!  I recently have taken salsa and bachata lessons, and have fallen in love.   Love to practice my dance moves every weekend.
Jessica BioPic

Jessica Bacile Hoffman - Member at Large     “Take chances and follow your heart.”

  • Why are you part of the D-E-A-F team? I am a part of this team because I want to give back to the Deaf community in a meaningful way, and I love to travel and learn about other cultures.
  • Did You Know?: Jessica began her interpreting journey in high school, taking ASL classes as her foreign language credit, and went on to graduate with her Bachelor’s degree in interpreting.
  • If I could be an animal , I would be  a dolphin, because they are community-oriented, smart, and playful!
Tasha BioPic

Tasha Aubry    “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

  • Why are you a part of the D-E-A-F team? Opportunity to give back, support others, learn a new culture and experience life from others perspective.
  • If I could be an animal, I would be bird, I would love to fly and soar freely.
  • Something people are surprised to learn about me; My parents are from Haiti and my siblings and I are first generation Americans.
Rob BioPic

Robert Zambrana    “Only you, and you alone can hold yourself back.”

  • Why are you a part of the D-E-A-F team? It's an honor to empower Deaf children and adults to believe they can do anything in this world. Deafness does not define us! It's a label that's been given to us and it is time to keep breaking barriers.
  • Something people are surprised to learn about me; I’m very successful entrepreneur of SOCF Crossfit, The Movement Football Camp, and a full-time NASA employee.
  • Studied Business Administration - Finance at Gallaudet class 2007


Jeff BioPic

Jeffrey Mendez     “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  - Philippians  4:13

  • Why are you part of D-E-A-F Team?  I always want to, HELP & empower as many lives as I can in the Deaf community. I want to show that we are unique in our own ways & special in many ways. Just because we cannot hear, does not mean anything! Expect the unexpected from us Deaf persons, we are full of surprises!
  • I am the Co-Founder of Deaf_With_Attitude clothes and merchandise line. Firstly, I am a full-time husband and dad of seven amazing kids!
  • If I was an animal, I would be a Snake. We are Deaf, so much in common,  Like many are afraid of snakes, people on earth are afraid of me. They judge us both by it front cover of the book, but they do not know the book yet, nice once they open the book & turn page. 
Moises BioPic

Moises Mendieta    “Don’t worry, be happy.”  - Bob Marley

  • Why are part of D-E-A-F team ? Because I understand the struggles of growing up Deaf in a hearing parents and needing Deaf adult role models. I now want to be a part of giving back to my community by becoming a positive role model, to inspire other Deaf youth to dream of a great future, never give up, and cherish Deaf culture.
  • School: Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, St. Augustine Florida
  • If I was an animal, I’d be The Deaf Lion King of the jungle.
Kazeem BioPic

Kazeem Babatunde   "If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Why is it important to be part of D-E-A-F? It is important to spread awareness about helping the Deaf children around the world. This team has great passion and is driven to achieve by opening several doors for the Deaf community. 
  • If you were an animal, what kind and why?  Lions. Lions are the kings of the jungle because of their raw power, leadership, wisdom and strength. Lions fear no other animals or anyone except for the tiger. 
  • Hobby - DJ is my hobby. I love playing music to keep people dancing forever until they can't dance any more. Major reason why I want to DJ is to empower the Deaf community, because Deaf can do anything except hear. FYI - In case you were wondering how Deaf people can dance, Deaf people follow music through the bass and rhythm,
David BioPic

David-Lee Raymond    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

  • Why are you a part of D-E-A-F team? I grew up in Jamaica with my Deaf family and currently live in Florida. Knowing the importance of communication accessibility and family support are crucial for Deaf children’s growth both mentally and physically.  Making contributions to the Deaf community as much as I can by working as a Deaf interpreter and interpreting mentor.
  • If I were an animal, I would be a Jaguar – I love to face a good challenge.
  • Hobbies: mountain hiking, mountain biking, snow skiing, wakeboarding, video editing and travel.

Our Partners in Jamaica

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