By Hilary Broman
The Dean of Students office and the security department partnered with the Children’s cancer fund of New Mexico to host Paws Up for College, said Libby Fatta, the Paws Up for College event coordinator.
“We wanted to organize a full day of college for all of the children who are battling cancer and who are associated with the Cancer Fund of New Mexico,” she stated.
CNM hosted the event on July 29 at Main Campus.
They arrived on campus between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., they had an orientation where they checked in and got students IDs as well as backpacks with school supplies, water bottles and a T-shirt, she said.
About 30 students attended on Friday, ranging from ages 6 to 18, she said.
“We were really excited to have the variety of age groups” she stated, “We paired some of the older teenagers with the younger ones so they could have that mentorship within the day.”
The levels of illness of the children were also varied, Fatta said, “Some were healthier than others.”
There were between 30 and 40 volunteers including staff and students from the dean of student’s office, the security department, the marketing and communications office, the foundations office and the executive council of students, Fatta explained.
Chief Corvino from the security department had the idea for this event, Fatta said.
“He previously organized a hero academy with the Albuquerque Police Academy where they did a similar event.” Fatta explained “They would have the children from the Cancer Fund of New Mexico do a day of police training and at the end of the day they were rewarded a badge. We wanted to do something similar but in a college setting.”
Fatta’s motivation for the event was to provide an enriching experience for the children, she said.
“I feel terrible that cancer is something that they have to go through especially at such a young age but I hope they were inspired to keep dreaming about college and pursuing a degree,” she expressed.
Fatta stated that she is optimistic that this will become an annual event.
The Grove Café and the Executive Council of Students sponsored breakfast, she said.
After breakfast the students attended five classes throughout the day, she said.
The first class was a fitness class where they learned basic fitness information and participated in fitness activities, she said.
The second class was in the simulation lab where the students learned how to do different medical simulations, Fatta said.
After that they went to lunch, which was sponsored by Saggios, she said.
At lunch they participated in a painting activity where the students painted their hands and put their handprints on a large piece of butcher paper, Fatta explained.
In the third class of the day the students learned how to use Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC) equipment.
The fourth class was a truck-driving demo and they ended the day in a culinary class where they made chocolate dipped strawberries, Fatta said.
“We wanted to give them different types of program options throughout the day so they could know that there are more than just the normal degree options,” Fatta expressed.
At the end of the day there was a graduation ceremony where the students earned a Suncat studies certificate, Fatta stated, each student was allowed to invite two family members to the ceremony.