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Meet New Mexico Credit Unions Connected Academy's New Teacher 10/2/2019

Monica Garcia-Roach, teacher at Mimbres SchoolSLFCU is committed to raising $80,000 in 2019 to help the New Mexico Credit Unions Connected Academy (NMCUCA) employ a full-time teacher so pediatric patients can continue their education while at the University of New Mexico Children's Hospital (UNMCH). The 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. Monica Garcia-Roach was recently hired for the position, which is only funded for the next ten months.

Monica holds a Level II K-8 teaching license and a Pre-K-12 Alternative Special Education teaching license, and has nine years of teaching experience. While on a break from classroom teaching three years ago, she coordinated playroom activities at the UNMCH Child Life wing, helped connect parents with free learning programs for their kids, and assisted children with their homework assignments. When she learned of the new Connected Academy teaching position, she said it was a dream come true.

"Since the program is new, I’m learning what the families need and what school routines work best for the children,” said Monica. “Patients who can't come into the classroom require one-on-one interactions at their bedsides, and classroom hours are set for children who can leave their beds. Even though these kids may be in different grades, sharing the commonality of their circumstances, being together, and helping each other will allow them to feel more normal. These activities will also give them topics to discuss when they Skype, text, or call their school friends, which is especially important for teenagers, who can feel isolated in their illness. I also help newly diagnosed patients transition into the hospital by coordinating homework plans with their school. Discharged patients who are returning to public schools need transition assistance, too."

When asked about her biggest challenge, Monica shared that it's hard to see families going through so much pain. “The kids lose control of everything in their life. They become very resilient and crave the normalcy of learning and homework. Although I have volunteers who will help grow our teaching program, there's only one of me and the need is great. Within UNMCH's General Pediatrics Unit, Specialty Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and the Carrie Tingley Hospital, there are potentially 89 patients who will need assistance."

Monica says the program is already making a big difference. "Recently, a parent of a newly admitted teen said, ‘I'm so worried about his schooling! He was supposed to start 8th grade, but he'll be here at least five weeks!’ When I told the parent what could be done to help her son keep up with his schoolwork, she was visibly relieved. I then said the school is a fantastic program funded entirely by seven New Mexico credit unions. She gave me a big hug and thanked me, but I know the embrace was for the NMCUCA."


SLFCU has raised $42,155 for the NMCUCA as of October 1, 2019. This includes $10,000 in matching funds from SLFCU during our September match month. To help us reach our $80,000 goal, you can:

  • Buy a Hope Heart for $1 or more 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.

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