Most parents would agree that one of their biggest fears is their child incurring a major injury or being diagnosed with a serious illness. But what happens when that child also begins to fall behind in school due to hospital stays and treatments?
Unfortunately, this scenario is very real. In fact, children who are admitted to a hospital and miss ten consecutive days of school are often disenrolled. However, continuing a child’s education during a significant health event allows them to express themselves, discover new things, and feel a sense of normalcy – all of which provides hope and sets an expectation for recovery.
To help these families, Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union recently partnered with six other New Mexico credit unions to create the NM Credit Unions Connected Academy (NMCUCA), 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. The new teacher will work from a room located inside the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital (UNMCH) Child Life wing. The ultimate goal of these credit unions is to create an endowment fund large enough to sustain this school for the next decade and beyond.
UNMCH is the only Level 1 trauma hospital in New Mexico and provides specialized traumatic care to a diverse population using a family-centered approach. UNMCH cares for more than 60,000 children every year from every county in New Mexico and parts of Colorado, Texas, and Arizona.
Children at UNMCH see the benefits of hiring a full-time teacher. In July 2018, 11-year-old Ariana was looking forward to attending 6th grade. Instead, Ariana learned she had stage 4 metastatic osteosarcoma and began spending more time at UNMCH than she did at home. “I hope we can get a teacher here at UNM Children’s Hospital,” Ariana said. “I think having a teacher here would help me a lot so I can ask questions, get help and to help motivate me.” She explained, “I am doing online schooling, but it is hard and confusing. I cannot always talk to my teacher; I can email him, but I don’t always get an answer. My mom and the nurses don’t always know the homework answers. Maybe if we had a teacher here, they could help me and other kids. The teacher could also help to better explain to my school why I cannot do certain work.”
SLFCU has committed to raising $80,000 in 2019 – the amount needed to fund the school for one year. To support NM Credit Unions Connected Academy fundraising efforts, you can purchase Hope Hearts for donations of $1 or more at any SLFCU branch beginning July 1. Our popular Sandy the Lab stuffed animals are also available for a minimum donation of $20, with proceeds in New Mexico* benefiting the NM Credit Unions Connected Academy.
Future fundraising will include events with food trucks and local restaurants. View our event calendar at slfcu.org/Calendar to learn more. “It’s going to take all of us together to meet our goal this year,” said Melissa Stock, SLFCU’s Vice President of Marketing. “But what I know for sure is that our members and employees are incredibly generous and thoughtful people. I am certain that together we can achieve our goal.”
*In California, proceeds from Sandy the Lab stuffed animal sales will benefit UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.
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