Nursing Students at ENMU-Roswell Fill, Donate Bags to Lincoln County Domestic Violence Shelter

By HEAL Staff Writer Jessica Martinez

Nursing, while not the most glamourous of professions, is typically associated with kind and compassionate men and women. Nurses use their knowledge, education, and experience while treating patients with dignity and respect during their most vulnerable state.

Pictured are (from left to right) Nest Executive Director Gwyn Kaitis, ENMU-R Students Cara Alsafi, Paige Kessler, and Norma Molina, ENMU-R Nursing Instructor Candi Miller-Morris and (front) Cara Alsafi’s son.

To help facilitate this mindset, the nursing students at Eastern New Mexico University Roswell are required to complete six hours of service learning each term.  This semester, the eleven students in the Medical/Surgical III class decided to do a group project benefitting local service entities.  They chose the Roswell Police Department and, since two of the students are from the Ruidoso area, the Nest, Lincoln County’s first and only domestic violence shelter.  

“The Nest was selected because of the population they serve.  New Mexico has a high rate of domestic violence,” said Candi Miller-Morris, ENMUR Nursing Clinical Instructor and faculty sponsor of the project.  “The students were also impressed that pets are also welcome to stay at the shelter with their families.”

The students contacted the Nest to see how they could help and were given a list of items that would be most appreciated.  They divided the list, purchased the items with their own money, and then planned a day to put the bags together.  

“Bags made for the women included items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, nail polish, tampons, pads, shampoo, and conditioner,” said Miller-Morris.  “They also made bags for the kids with stuffed animals and an interactive book.  They even made bags with biscuits for the dogs!”

Three of the students and Miller-Morris traveled from Roswell to the Nest to deliver the bags. 

“The students are required to write up a response to the service learning project,” explained Miller-Morris.  “They all stated this was their favorite service learning project in the two years they have been in the nursing program.”

The students who participated in the project are Cara Alsafi, Rebecca Denniston, Kallea Dictson, Callie Gariepy, Courtney Holm, Lizeth Avelar, Paige Kessler, Wynelle Klopfer, Dana Knight, Victoria Meraz, and Norma Molina.

“We were thrilled to receive these thoughtful bags from the nursing students at ENMU-R.  The women and children who come through the doors at The Nest are often fleeing their homes and belongings, in addition to abusive relationships,” said Nest Advocate Kelsey Westbrook.  “So, while the items in these bags might be easily taken for granted by most, they are the necessities that are truly needed here at the shelter.  We were especially tickled to receive the dog biscuits for our four-legged residents.”

ENMU-Roswell’s Associate of Science in Nursing Program has full accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and has full approval by the New Mexico Board of Nursing.  To learn more and to access an application, visit their website at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HEAL & The Nest Domestic Violence Shelter | Toll-Free Hotline (866) 378-6378 | Free language services are available at HEAL & The Nest" in English, Spanish, Apache and Navajo. Los empleados de The Nest ofrecen asistencia en lenguaje gratuita. Taa'jike' nizaad The Nest nidáálnishigíí ye ninkaa' adolwoh be'haz'ah.