CCAHEC Provides Scholarships with the Kristina R. Wenzel Memorial Education Award

CCAHEC Provides Scholarships with the Kristina R. Wenzel Memorial Education Award

People who knew Kris Wenzel were immediately taken by her personality and charm. They never forgot who she was. She lived life large and exuded a joy that was contagious. As Executive Director of Central Colorado Area Health Education Center (CCAHEC), Kris’ passion was to make life easier and healthier for all in Colorado. Her ability to see the big picture in health care and connect professionals in the nonprofit world was remarkable. Outcomes were realized, people were inspired, and grants were funded. Students met her in medical school interviews, summer programs and in classrooms. Community members saw her at programs and on boards. Much too soon, Kris was taken from us. Those who worked with her and whose lives were touched by her want never to forget how she made life good just by being alive!

Nursing Scholarship Program

CCAHEC is pleased to continue in this tradition and recently partnered once again with Centura Health to support their Nursing Scholarship program. See their video here.

The foundation focuses on attracting and retaining first-class nurses to ensure our patients, and the communities we serve, receive the highest quality care. Research shows that when nurses have a bachelor’s degree or higher, patients live longer.

In 2017, St. Anthony Health Foundation and St. Anthony North Health Foundation launched the Nursing Scholarship Program. In its inaugural year, seven associates received scholarships totaling more than $85,000. With the generous support of our donors, the Foundation is excited to launch a second round of scholarships beginning this summer.

The Nursing Scholarship Program provides scholarship opportunities to associates at St. Anthony Hospital and St. Anthony North Health Campus who are pursing undergraduate or graduate nursing degrees.

Health Careers Pre-Apprenticeship (HCPA) Scholarships

By Mitch Fittro – Youth Programs Manager
“This program and everyone involved really mean a lot to me and really helped shape my future in healthcare.” -Vanessa Castaneda

In the past year, CCAHEC decided to revise our organization’s mission. Our mission is now “Within an innovative framework, CCAHEC partners to create and implement educational programs, addressing the dynamic needs of students, providers, and community members.” I would like to talk about the unique and meaningful way that I am carrying out this mission. As the Education and Workforce Manager, a big part of my job is creating and implementing educational programs. One of those programs is the Health Careers Pre-Apprenticeship (HCPA), which gives students ages 16-24 a jump start to their healthcare journey.


Usually I would talk about the experiences and certifications that students receive, but today I want to focus on something a little different. For the first time, CCAHEC was able to award two graduates of the HCPA program each a scholarship of $500. This scholarship is a great way to “address the dynamic needs of students…” mentioned in the CCAHEC mission, as many students in my programs don’t come from wealthy circumstances and are scraping together every dollar they can to make ends meet. All their lives they’ve heard about mythical college scholarship money and for a lot of students, that money never materializes. Vanessa Castaneda and Alli Curran are the two young women who are the recipients of the Kris Wenzel Memorial Scholarship this year. Both are graduates of Wheat Ridge High School and fantastic ambassadors not only for my program, but for their community as well. Both recipients are using their scholarship dollars to help further their healthcare dreams by attending college. As a community organization, it makes us proud that we can support our students not only in an educational sense, but a financial sense as well. We see this scholarship money as an investment in our future workforce and our community as well. Congrats ladies!

If you would like to contribute to our student scholarship program, please contact Pat@centralcoahec.org or call 303.481.8686.

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