United Way Scholarship Success Stories

Catarina Monteiro

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.

Jean-Marc Thelussaint

Ask someone how they discovered their career and you will most likely get a underwhelming response.  Not so for Jean-Marc Thelussaint.  In early 2018 he found himself in the emergency room at Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton.  As he sat patiently in the waiting room, he found himself mesmerized by the work of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).  It was fast-paced, critical, and exciting.

Jean-Marc spoke with hospital staff and later an acquaintance who worked at Brewster Ambulance Service about a career as an EMT.  He was encouraged to take the EMT certificate program at Massasoit Community College.

As a 2016 graduate from Brockton High School, Jean-Marc did not have much in the way of savings so he worked hard to set aside money for the EMT certificate program.  He was greatly relieved to learn that he qualified for the Community Impact Scholarship offered by Massasoit.  Through the scholarship program, which is funded by the United Way of Greater Plymouth County, Jean-Marc paid 25% of the tuition for the program.  Funding from the United Way covered the balance. 

This financial support opened the doors to a great opportunity for Jean-Marc and offered him peace of mind to focus on his studies and not worry about how to pay for the program.  He graduated from the EMT program and passed the EMT state exam in December of 2018.  Since then Jean-Marc accepted a job as an EMT with Brewster Ambulance and is continuing his studies at Massasoit in the Paramedic Certificate Program.  

While he didn’t know it at the time, that unexpected trip to the emergency room changed the course of Jean-Marc’s life.  It set him on a path to a new career – a career that he now speaks of with great enthusiasm.  He is extremely grateful to the United Way of Greater Plymouth County and its supporters for making this opportunity a reality.