Carla Monteiro, a social worker and Dorchester native, announces her candidacy for at-large city council on Saturday afternoon at the Blarney Stone in Fields Corner. Monteiro, 38, described herself as a first-generation Cape Verdean, a single mom and a fervently proud Bostonian.
“I feel that it is very important to have a social worker on the council who brings a holistic perspective, especially considering the pandemic and the climate that we’re currently living in,” Monteiro told the Reporter.
In high school, Monteiro said she struggled academically at Madison Park High School, but her drive led her to eventually complete three degrees and a certificate in four years to become a social worker, all while raising her son.
Monteiro earned her Masters in Social Work from Boston College in 2019 and now works to help support patients struggling with their mental health and substance use and screen for social determinants of health at Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s.
“A lot of what drives me is growing up in Dorchester and just seeing a lot of the disparities,” Monteiro said. “I chose to work in addiction because it heavily impacted my community.”
Growing up, Monteiro said she dreamed of owning a home in the neighborhood that her mother could move into.
Monteiro would put her son to bed and stay up late researching, and it paid off.
In 2010, that dream became a reality when she bought a three-decker through the city’s first-time home buyers program.
“When I did have my son, people counted me out. It was this stigma about being a mom at such an early age,” said Monteiro, who became a mother at 20.
“Being a single mom I had to navigate the welfare system. I know what it’s like to work a few overtime hours and have your daycare fees go up and your food stamps decrease,” she said.
Buying a home changed the way her neighbors and community treated her, Monteiro said. She wants everyone to have that opportunity.
“There are all these gaps in services that impact the people of Boston. And if you haven't gone through it, then you may miss those gaps,” she said.
Monteiro said chose to run at-large to represent the entire city because she looks at Boston on a macro-level.
“I didn’t want to be limited in one district and not be able to help everybody,” she said.
“I’ve always been like this unofficial social worker growing up,” said Monteiro. “I just always found a way to bring resources to my neighbors and friends.”
Candidates for council at-large are required to get a minimum of 1,500 certified signatures from city voters to make the ballot. Nomination papers will be made available on April 13.