News & Updates
Monday, June 5, 2023

“No matter what profession you are in, you had a teacher in your life who helped you get to where you are.”

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center employee Viergine Santil credits her teachers at the Haitian Multi-Service Center ESOL program for helping her identify new opportunities and gain confidence in her ability to build a career in the United States.

student “Growing up, we remember to thank our parents and sometimes our friends, but we forget to pass our gratitude on to one of the most important people in our successteachers,” said Viergine Santil, a recent graduate of Catholic Charities Boston’s Haitian Multi-Service Center English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program.

Having immigrated from Haiti to Boston during the summer of 2021, knowing very little English, Viergine said that the teachers she met at Catholic Charities Boston quickly became a beacon of hope for her, restoring her confidence in her ability to build a meaningful career and provide for her two sons in their new home.

After testing into level two of the Haitian Multi-Service Center’s ESOL program, Viergine learned the class was already full and was alternatively placed in the level three program.

“I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to understand,” she said.

Her fears were quickly alleviated when she met a teacher who would soon become a role model, a resource, and above all, a friend: ESOL instructor Jane Snyder, who encouraged her to challenge and believe in herself.

“Teacher Jane helped me to set the bar higher than I ever thought I could,” said Viergine.

Throughout the course of the next few months, Viergine said Jane taught her and her classmates everything from English to goal setting to resume writing.

“My weekends became dedicated to doing everything that I could to help me improve my English,” she said. “I watched YouTube in English. If I came across a word I didn’t know, I’d look it up in the dictionary and try to make sentences using it.”

As the ESOL course was nearing an end, Jane worked closely with Viergine to help her identify career opportunities, one of which was the African Bridge Network Fellowship, a training and work-placement program which places 30 talented, diverse, and multilingual immigrant professionals from different regions of the world in a paid fellowship in a fast-paced work environment with financial, healthcare, or research employers in the Greater Boston, Metro North, and Worcester areas.

“I was intimidated, but Jane said to me, ‘Can I give you some advice? Take the chance and go for it.’”

Weeks later, Viergine successfully secured a position in the African Bridge Network Fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which included courses on basic career etiquette and how to be confident in the workplace. Following this, she completed a three-month long internship at Beth Israel that focused on general healthcare management practices.

Today, she works as a supervisor at Beth Israel, helping with housekeeping, bed tracking, scheduling, and payroll.

Though she earned a bachelor’s degree in management while living in Haiti, she said she hopes to also one day earn a Bachelor of Health Care Administration in the U.S. and continue working in the hospital setting.

Viergine said she is still learning every day, implementing the skills and harnessing the strengths Jane helped her to recognize within herself.

“No matter what profession you are in, you had a teacher in your life who helped you get to where you are,” said Viergine.

Catholic Charities Haitian Multi-Service Center at the Yawkey Center in Dorchester provides three levels of ESOL instruction and is open to adults of all backgrounds, ages 18 and up, who want to improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English. Learn more about the center and all the ESOL classes offered through Catholic Charities Boston Adult Education & Workforce Development here.

Get the Latest News from CCAB