COLORADO SPRINGS — A local teen, who's committed to serving her community, is now being recognized for her efforts. She recently received a Daniels Scholarship which is awarded to graduating high school seniors who show leadership in their community.
Joselyne Cimpaye graduated from Harrison High School in May. She became a certified nursing assistant and earned her associates degree all while attending high school, and for her and her family, the accomplishment was a dream come true.
Cimpaye said she's overcome challenges in life, that shaped who she is today. In 2007, her family was selected to come to the United States after staying at a refugee camp in Tanzania.
"We were very thankful to come to America because we heard about all these amazing, dreams about how people can actually live the American dream," said Cimpaye.
Cimpaye is now working to make her dream become a reality.
"I help the older population and the geriatrics population towards their last moments," said Cimpaye.
Her passion for helping the elderly population began when she took care of her sick grandmother.
"I would make food for her, I would bathe her, and I would just be there with her," said Cimpaye.
While still in high school, she earned her CNA and associates degree in science. In fall 2020, she got a job at the Retreat at Sunny Vista, a local retirement home, to continue pursuing what she was passionate about.
"I'm serving a purpose. I'm being there for people and showing them their peace and happiness and the journey they're about to forego," said Cimpaye. "Even though they're going, it's you who took care of them in their last moments, and it's something I'm very passionate about."
Serving a purpose is something she started at a young age. She started volunteering in middle school and worked with organizations and programs like Peak Education, and the Enhancing Leadership Program at Pikes Peak Community College. She spent the past year lending a hand at the Care and Share Food Bank, an organization she's helped since her freshman year.
"I feel like I was really doing something for the community because, during that time, we were facing a pandemic, and a lot of families were in a lot of need for food," said Cimpaye.
For her, no dream is too big. She came to the United States not knowing English and became the first person in her family to earn a college degree. She says she couldn't have done it without help from her community.
"The fact they actually gave up time, to see me want to succeed, shows me that, if I give back, I can probably inspire someone else," said Cimpaye. "I think it's important that I give back because I want to be influential to others and those around me."
With the scholarship funds, Cimpaye wants to go to Berea College in Kentucky to be a geriatric nurse practitioner. She says she'd like to open her own practice one day.
The scholarship pays up to $25,000 toward the costs of college tuition and fees. 240 graduation seniors received a scholarship this year, and 135 of those were from Colorado. Scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Daniels Fund has given $220 million in scholarships. Bill Daniels, a cable television pioneer, founded the program. Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs sits on the board of directors.