This page uses JavaScript. Your browser either does not support JavaScript or you have it turned off. To see this page properly please use a JavaScript enabled browser.
Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union Go to main content
Routing #307083911|
Online Banking
Manage a Home Loan
Manage a Student or Consolidation Loan
Teen Earning GED Through NMCUCA Learning Opportunity 1/29/2020

UNMCH Patient DaneAs SLFCU continues to raise funds for the New Mexico Credit Unions Connected Academy (NMCUCA1), we will periodically feature UNM Hospital patients who have benefited from having a teacher available at UNM Children’s Hospital (UNMCH).

Dane became seriously ill with chronic kidney disease during his middle school years. There is currently no known cure for the disease, though regular treatments can help control its symptoms. As he entered high school, Dane began 3.5-hour dialysis sessions three times a week. His school wouldn’t support his extended absences, so he had to drop out. Dane missed more than three years of high school.

“After that, I became preoccupied with my illness and didn’t want to do anything. I stayed in my room, slept a lot, and pretty much dug myself into a hole,” says Dane, now age 18. “My dad started talking to me about getting my GED (General Educational Development) diploma right after I dropped out of high school. But for a couple of years, I wasn’t interested. There wasn’t anyone pushing me to learn or challenging me to do more. As a local truck driver, my dad could only do so much as he gets home from work late, but he always made time to pick me up from my dialysis treatments during the day.”

Dane met Monica, the teacher hired to work with critically ill children at UNMCH through NMCUCA efforts in October 2019, and experienced a dramatic change of perspective. Monica now works with him to prepare for his GED tests. “Dane is determined to get it done and works with our volunteer tutors and me regularly, both in person and through online lessons. Our web-based training system allows me to log in and assess his learning needs,” says Monica.

“I needed motivation,” adds Dane. “Monica prods me until I do the work, and she doesn’t stop because she knows I can do it. If I hadn’t met Monica, I wouldn’t have even thought to start my GED prep work. She consistently encourages and challenges me by making deals for just 10 or 15 more minutes of studying. I’ve learned more through this program than I’ve ever learned through public school.”

“When you sit that long outside of school, it’s hard to get back into motion,” he adds. “I would have continued my schooling if the NMCUCA program was here when I was first admitted to UNMCH. And I would have already graduated high school by now!” says Dane with confidence.

Dane recently completed the first module of the GED study guide and is reviewing the material with Monica. “Dane is very knowledgeable and smart,” she says. “He’ll be ready for his test. I’m so excited for him. I’m going to be outside the testing room, waiting for him to come out with a good report. He’s got it; I know he does!”

Once Dane completes his GED, he plans to attend Lincoln Technical Institute to study automotive technology. He notes, “It’s what I’m good at; it’s what my dad has taught me; it’s what I know.”


SLFCU employees, members, and community partners raised $80,000 in 2019 to fund an accredited full-time teacher working from within UNMCH for a year. SLFCU is now committed to the goal of raising $200,000 over the next several years on behalf of NMCUCA to build an endowment fund large enough to provide a long-term teaching position at UNMCH.

Please consider donating to help keep critically ill children on track toward graduation.

  • Donate $20 or more in any New Mexico branch* and receive a Sandy the Lab stuffed animal. Sandys may be gifted to children who are undergoing treatment at UNMCH.
  • Call us at 505.293.0500 or send a secure message in online or mobile banking.
  • Double your good deed in February. Purchase a Hope Heart in any New Mexico branch, and SLFCU will match your donation!
  • Monetary donations of any amount are gratefully accepted and are tax-deductible.

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

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

« Return to "View All Articles"