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Volunteering pays for students

Colorado Mountain College Nursing program students Stacy Wacker and Valerie Aragon are getting paid for volunteer work they do as part of their academic program.

Through the AmeriCorps Education Award, students can get paid for volunteer work.

The AmeriCorps Education Award gives both women a stipend to help them pay for their education. The requirements are that they volunteer 450 hours of community service or 11 hours a week, and in return, they will receive $1,250 towards paying off their tuition. The awarded student has up to seven years to use the money.



Wacker and Aragon are enrolled in the nursing program at CMC. Aragon has been volunteering at the Rifle Veterans Nursing Home, Heritage Park in Carbondale and at Valley View Hospital.

Wacker has been serving as a volunteer at the Veteran’s Nursing Home in Rifle.



“I work with the Alzheimer’s unit and with patients who have dementia,” Wacker said. It fits well with her nursing education, she added. Wacker decided she wanted to be a nurse when she was volunteering with the Peace Corps.

“I served in the Peace Corps in Tonga, which is in the South Pacific,” she explained. “I went right out of college and taught English. Being in Tonga made me want to be a nurse, because there were few medical facilities on the outer islands, so many times volunteers used their own medical kits.

“The AmeriCorps Education Award is a really good program, Wacker said. “We have a large population of people in this valley in need of volunteer work.”

“The AmeriCorps Education Award offers a way for people to make the most of their education,” Aragon added. She is using it to help pay for her last year at CMC and to continue on with her bachelor’s degree.

“It also gives me hands-on experience that will help me when I become a nurse. I’ll probably work in pediatrics or in maternity care.”

The AmeriCorps Education Award is the only program that gives students a stipend to help them further their education through volunteer work. Volunteer work includes tutoring, mentoring or any community-based service addressing human needs.

Award amounts vary depending on number of service hours: $1,000 for 300 hours or 7.5 hours a week; $1,250 for 450 hours or 11 hours a week; and $2,563 for 900 hours or 22 hours a week.

For details on the AmeriCorps Education Award, contact Debi Martinez at 384-8530 or 800-621-8559, ext. 8530.


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