Thanks to a family finances class from a JP nonprofit, Marisol Pascual-Valletta has taken the next step in her dream to become a Spanish-English court interpreter.
On Nov. 5 she'll start a Boston University course to build on her skills as a medical interpreter to add in higher-paying work in the court system.
Pascual-Valletta gives a lot of credit to a free seven-week course offered through the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp.: The "Family Prosperity Initiative"
"The first night I went to class, I loved it," she said.
Before the class, which is taught in small groups in Spanish with simultaneous translation for English-speaking students, she said she didn't realize how important it is to have a family budget.
Pascual-Valletta says she's learned to think twice when she's about to buy something.
"I know the difference between want and need," said the native of the Dominican Republic. She's been in the U.S. for 28 years, mostly in Dorchester but now living in Quincy.
Students mostly come from Jamaica Plain, Dorchester and Roxbury.
Like many graduates of the course, the household she shares with husband Mike Valletta has increased its savings and lowered its debt. Follow-up statistics show about 85 percent of students cut their expenses, 70 percent increase their savings and 39 percent lower their debt.
While the classes are truly multi-cultural, Pascual-Valletta says, with a mix of people who came to the U.S. and folks born here, she said as a Dominican woman she appreciated that her teachers come from a similar background to hers. They understand where she's coming from. Pascual-Valletta says there's a tendency among Latinas to take care of everyone else before themselves, so she enjoyed doing something that increased her knowledge and confidence.
"I've been telling everyone to take that class," she said. "It's been a blessing."
The course is full for this fall. To be placed on a list for information about the spring course, please email Karla Torrez.