For Catarina Monteiro, language has always been an important part of her life. Having grown up in Cape Verde, Catarina quickly learned Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole, Spanish, French, and English, and over the years she has picked up some Italian. It was her love of languages, and desire to help others, that led Catarina to Massasoit’s Medical Interpreter certificate program.

As a paralegal for Catholic Social Services in Fall River, Mass., Catarina was already helping people throughout Bristol County by interpreting for the immigration department and assisting individuals with financial difficulties. Learning how to become a medical interpreter was always on her bucket list, but with two children and having just gotten married, Catarina thought she would have to postpone continuing her education. She had already earned an associate degree, and most schools and programs she researched were expensive.

By chance, her sister suggested she look into Massasoit Community College. A short time later, Catarina learned that she qualified for the Community Impact Scholarship, which is funded by the United Way of Greater Plymouth County. With assistance from the United Way, Catarina was responsible for just 25 percent of the tuition for the Medical Interpreting program. She was on her way to becoming an interpreter skilled in two complex fields – law practice and healthcare.

Catarina received her certificate in December 2018, and she quickly found a medical interpreting position with Interpreters & Translators, Inc. Her new role has given her more independence and allows her to spend more time with her children, while also planning her next educational pursuit. Catarina is very appreciative of the United Way of Greater Plymouth County and encourages those who qualify not to be afraid of a new challenge and to ask about the scholarship program. “There are people out there who are struggling, but really driven, and I know they have the capability to complete a certificate program,” said Catarina.