Local students receive funding assistance for college tuition through Vitalant scholarship program


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A group of local students is already seeing financial support from the community to help pay for their upcoming tuition through blood donations.

A scholarship program was kicked off by Vitalant at the end of last year to help local students get the education they need to achieve their dream careers.

Many are now on that path and look ahead to their upcoming semester while also helping to save lives in our community.

“El Paso is leading the nation with this scholarship program,” Thiago Silva, a recruiter with Vitalant told KTSM 9 News.

Twelve local students have already locked in scholarships that are being awarded through Vitalant’s Student Leadership Scholarship program, while also bringing in more blood donors to our local blood bank.

“Maybe it’s because how hard we’ve been hit with the pandemic, but also in the last few days as you have seen, everything is frozen,” Silva mentioned. “The blood centers have closed in many states. Blood drives have not happened, so the students here have a better opportunity to send their friends and relatives to the blood center and actually donate blood in their name.”

With COVID-19 putting financial burdens on some, these students said they’re grateful to see the support they’ve received while working on their education.

“This pandemic has hit schools really hard. It’s changed the aspect and the school culture, so it’s really important to see that we’re still able to get funds and help support our communities that are struggling right now,” said Juan Ricarte, a student at New Mexico State University.

“It is going to help a lot of people and considering COVID, a lot of people need it. Thank you to everybody who is out there helping, even to the other students as well,” shared Izla Quinones, a student at El Paso Community College.

Between now and Feb. 28, these students will continue working on raising the scholarship amount to $1,000 by encouraging the community to be a part of their future success.

“When you donate blood, you’re already saving lives. We’re going to send your blood to all the local hospitals but now, with this scholarship program, you have a chance to also help a local student go to college. We’re going to help them pay off their college because of you. Because of your act of donating blood,” Silva added.

“I’m excited because I’ve been out of school since 2011. So this is something new for me. This is a new dream and I’m glad that I can make it,” said Brenda Amaya, a future EPCC student.

The deadline for these students to achieve their goals is Feb. 28. You can visit Vitalant at its location or online to learn more about donating blood and helping support these students from now until then.

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