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Hospitalized Children Benefit from Learning Opportunities 10/30/2019

UNMCH Patient Taylor and her mom, CrystalMeet Taylor and her mom, Crystal. Taylor is ten years old with a beautiful smile, a very positive attitude, and a charming giggle. She likes studying math and dreams of being a teacher someday. Taylor also has Class V lupus nephritis, a chronic immune system disease that involves the kidneys and targets healthy body tissue. As with many childhood illnesses, lupus has no known cause and cannot be prevented.

Taylor was admitted to the hospital in July 2019 and endured a lupus-induced stroke. She then enrolled in the school within the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital (UNMCH). She enjoys daily one-on-one meetings with her new teacher, Monica, and the seven volunteers who help her with the program. Because of her health issues, Taylor has spent only one day (five hours) in the classroom. “It’s very important that Monica is here!” she emphasizes. “She’s helping me learn things so I’ll know the answers to my schoolwork questions when I go home. Monica has even taken me on a field trip to the hospital’s helicopter landing pad – that was so cool! They gave me a special access badge and hat to make me look official.”

Up to 90 percent of all people with lupus experience cognitive difficulties, or ‘brain fog.’1 “Even though I really want to remember the lessons, it’s hard,” confesses Taylor. “Monica and the others make learning fun and are very patient with me when we have to repeat lessons. I miss my friends and think they could help me work through my anxiety, but since I’m here, Monica and the others encourage me.”

Crystal adds, “Before Monica was hired, I never considered how important the social aspect of school was to Taylor. She misses the social interactions with her friends. I had no idea how much she needed the independence of school activities. When we began the hospital school’s lessons, Taylor really didn’t want me to tag along; she wanted to feel capable, normal. Even when she’s doing online coursework, she wants to do her own work. It’s so helpful that Monica can log in to the admin site and check on Taylor’s progress, then follow up with lessons to fill in the knowledge gaps. The NMCUCA2 program is fantastic, and I cannot thank Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union enough for helping to fund this school!”


SLFCU has raised $45,074 for the NMCUCA as of October 23, 2019. To help us reach our goal, you can:To help us reach our fundraising goal, you can:

  • Buy a Hope Heart in New Mexico branches from any SLFCU Teller.
  • Purchase a Sandy the Lab stuffed animal in New Mexico branches* for a donation of $20 or more.
  • Donate by calling us at 505.293.0500 or sending a secure message in online or mobile banking.
  • Join us at one of our local fundraising events.

* In California, proceeds from Sandy the Lab stuffed animal sales will benefit UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

1. Lupus Foundation of America, April 2019.

2. NM Credit Unions Connected Academy (NMCUCA) is a non-profit organization focused on providing the funding to employ an additional accredited full-time teacher at the Mimbres School – a state-accredited, year-round elementary and high school which operates in a hospital setting. SLFCU partnered with six other New Mexico credit unions to create the NMCUCA to build an endowment fund large enough to sustain this school for the next decade and beyond.

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