committed to making the magic of summer camp happen
Director and Founder
Mayra Castro, Camp Director and Founder
I am a New Jersey native and a proud Cuban-American born to hearing Cuban parents. I currently reside in Union City, New Jersey. I am a co-founder of Zoppi Deaf Camp began in the summer of 2016 as a five-day program at the YMCA Camp Linwood MacDonald in Sandyston, NJ. The founders were very pleased to receive glowing feedback from our Deaf youths’ parents, citing: positive attitude, exploration of their empowered identities in Deaf culture, increased awareness of opportunities and a tremendous learning experience.
Currently, I am an advocate for Deaf Children of Color for low-income families to encourage them to participate in summer camp and Deaf youths of color events. I am reaching out to schools in New Jersey to educate the administrators/educators about Deaf youth of colors’ accomplishments and achievements. I am currently giving presentations to administrators and parents. As one of the founder, I wanted to gauge the success of the camp experience. We were able to do so by analyzing the feedback expressed by the parents and the campers. The results were overwhelmingly positive! It was observed that the campers, youths and teens, developed their own Deaf identity as well as increased their personal knowledge about intersectionality, colorism, leadership and self-esteem. This was made possible by the ability of our camp to provide Deaf professionals workshops in American Sign Language which helped the campers increase their education and identity through exposure to Deaf Culture. My passion is to expand Deaf youths of Color to become a better person, develop their interaction, explore identity development and good leaders and give them good opportunity!
Andrew Robertson, Assistant Director
Hi! I am Andrew. I love good content, creative thinking, and determination. I am a believer that will get better.
Right now, I help people make amazing things happen with Zoppi Deaf Camp, an volunteer organization that serve diverse Deaf and Hard of Hearing campers in New Jersey. Prior to joining Latino Deaf and Hard of Hearing Association of the Metropolitan DC, Inc (LDHHAMDC). I help promote and increase awareness, as well as support public relations through the art of my work.
Working with Zoppi Deaf Camp founders to familiarize the summer camp website and technique tops my favorite list of projects. I am passionate about social media and brought in to do event photography at National Black Deaf Advocates and Gallaudet Dance Company's numerous events.
I am honored to be a part of the team that have type of leadership. I take an advantage of everything that the Zoppi Deaf Camp offers. He is originally from Reserve, Louisiana and now live in Silver Spring, MD. He is married to Maribel Robertson. He has three children: Michael, Emmanuel and Samuel and two grandsons.
Andrew Galuskin, Interpreter Coordinator
I'm Andrew Galuskin. I've been an interpreter for 12 years. This will be my third year with ZDC. I'm looking forward to another wonderful summer!
Maria Aponte-Mercado, Spanish Interpreter
I studied Deaf Studies @ LaGuardia College and have interpreted in various capacities, church etc. I also founded ; “Hands On For Jesus Counsel” to meet the needs of Deaf Community .