Upon returning to Waco in1993, she was recruited to be an employment advocate for the deaf and people with disabilities by a former colleague for a state agency. Thus launched Sign of the Times. Darlene stepped outside of traditional interpreter role and suddenly was faced with adversity. Though she loved interpreting her focus turned to advocate deaf awareness and market SOT services. She soon learned to think out of the box. She knew she had barriers to break down and traditional efforts were not successful and she then became determine that to inspire change, she must bring deaf awareness to the forefront.
Her long term goal was to build a user friendly interpreting agency unlike the traditional settings. This goal was manifested in 2000. Her passion to provide best services, support for interpreters and to inspire the community to embrace inclusion for the deaf while offering best services at compatible rates transpired. She targeted venues designed to break down barriers by creating positive deaf awareness projects. She used the media as a tool to educate the public & business community of deaf awareness to aid her in her journey. She accomplished this by creating positive consciousness that in turn would undoubtedly create jobs, promotions and inclusion through accommodations for the deaf. Although there is much work to be done, great strides have been made in our local community and today Darlene delights in witnessing many other deaf leaders come forward and who has risen to the call.
In addition to Darlene's interpreter trainings, she was awarded a scholarship to the Leadership Waco Class of 1998. This program is designed to select 20 candidates each year to train to become future community leaders.
Darlene became highly motivated and embraced her trainings. She became involved in numerous community civic groups, events and projects. She served as president of the Lake Brazos Rotary Club with fifteen years of perfect attendance. She served as president of the Waco Mayors Committee on People With Disabilities and is still an active member to this day. She served five year terms each on the Hippodrome Board and the EOAC Board who oversees the local Head Start Programs, Child Care Management and was a School Board Member for the EOAC Charter School. One of Darlene's proudest moments was when she partnered with Advocacy Inc. to lobby the Senate and the House (Bill: HB 214) in victory to pass legislation for payment by Medicare for sign interpreting of medical assignments state wide. In addition to her many interest, Darlene decided to carry her message by networking into the political realms and volunteering in numerous capacities. She has served as a state Delegate since 2000 through 2014 at her parties State Conventions. She has built a successful business reflecting professional ethics by offering outstanding services. She hires skilled employees who are equally passionate and dedicated to offer best rates and outstanding customer services. Please see our letters of support and check out our BBB rating. In addition to her community and professional investments, she is known for her expressive interpreting sign to music for concerts and private settings. She has created and partened sponsoring countless community events. These efforts have paved the way throughout the years to see her passions and investments revealed in her dream of inclusion. Today, she continues to seek unique and innovative ways to inspire unity and creative projects such as SOTs virtual CEU trainings for interpreters via web page and offer annual mini-seminars. Darlene and her staff are continuously expanding their boundaries by exploring new and unique ideas to further their cause to reflect a profession designed to accommodate the deaf and hard of hearing.