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Marcos Mendez Found his Mission at Aims

Marcos Mendez is a single father who was looking for a more stable and fulfilling way to support his family. He found that path at Aims Community College. 

Marcos Mendez

Marcos is planning to graduate with a 15-week Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certificate this semester. After that, he wants to continue at Aims to obtain more credentials. This is all to prepare Marcos to do something he is passionate about. “I really love helping people,” he said. 

Finding Direction and Support

Marcos explored many jobs throughout his adult life, including construction, farmwork, loading sand and jet fuel into freight cars and being an equipment operator. While these jobs paid the bills, Marcos desired a purpose-driven career. 

“I was really getting tired of feeling pretty empty, my environment and always being stressed out,” he said. Some people believe 11:11 is a good time to make a wish. While working the night shift, Marcos would be aware of the time, and instead of making a wish, he would pray. “I prayed for six months. During that process, I was able to really ground myself in life spiritually and decide what I wanted to do. That's where this opportunity came up.”

Marcos came to Aims with the objective of becoming an emergency medical technician. He was able to get into the EMT program at no cost as part of the Care Forward Colorado Program, a statewide initiative designed to get more people into healthcare positions.

Getting into the program took Marcos a little more effort due to his behavior when he was younger. “I used to be a bad kid,” he admitted. “I used to be involved in gangs and stuff, so I had to get a lot of those things cleared up to get into the program.”  

The Aims Public Safety Institute Director, Ross Perkins, helped Marcos get authorized to move forward.  Perkins reviewed Marcos’ record and had an extensive interview with him. When he was confident that Marcos had made a change for the better, he was approved to begin the EMT program. 

These conversations were helpful as Marcos was exploring his options. 

“The talks I had with the dean and other staff members really attracted me. It made me feel like this place could help me pursue my career and succeed.” 

Marcos is so satisfied with his Aims experience that he recommends that his friends consider attending if they are looking for a career change. “I worked with a friend and told him that there's something better out there for you, and I really recommend and encourage you to check out the Aims program. They have an amazing program for EMTs. They have people who are willing to work with you."

Marcos Mendez

Aims provided Marcos with resources in other areas during his time on campus. The CARE and Counseling Services team is dedicated to assisting students in distress while providing critical campus and community resources. “The CARE team has been truly amazing in the support they give and the way they take matters into their hands,” Marcos said. “The counseling team is always there for you, caring about your mental health or your overall day. My life mattered to them!” 

Another group that helped Marcos on his journey is the Finish What You Started (FWYS) program. FWYS provides students with one-on-one success coaching, teaches them academic and personal growth skills, and supports them as they prepare to move into their careers or further education once they complete their degree or certificate at Aims. ”The FWYS program has a marvelous team to make sure you complete successfully,” he said. 

His Aims journey was so rewarding because the college supports students in growing and elevating their dreams. That aesthetic is aligned with Marcos’ personal ideals of serving and uplifting others.

Desire to Help People 

Part of Marcos’ aspiration to work in emergency medicine was due to his rough past. “I used to be a drug addict and was a patient in the ambulance a few times because of drugs,” Marcos said. He also recalls being in situations where he saw his friends getting shot and dying. 

“I really feel like the people that were sent were angels. I saw that there's still compassion in human beings. I don't feel like we should let that die out.”

While Marcos still wants to help people in times of need, his focus has shifted. At first, he didn’t know much about the fire service or even consider it an option.

Marcos Mendez

EMT students get clinical experience with a fire department, ambulance service or hospital. This is an opportunity to show what they’ve learned in the program. Marcos did his clinicals with a fire department. Through this hands-on experience, Marcos became more drawn to riding a fire truck instead of an ambulance. 

“I would love to work for a fire station, help those in need and save lives. I love their culture, too,” Marcos said. He found out that large fire departments hire paramedics, so once Marcos completes his EMT certification, he will go through the Aims Fire Academy and complete the Paramedic program as well. Marcos thought that this sounded like a better path for him since it was the best of both worlds.  “I like fighting fires, but I think I lean more towards the medicine side,” he said.

As Marcos’ first phase of his Aims education ends, he’s so glad that he chose to come here. 

“I'm definitely grateful that I found the opportunity to come to Aims. It has been a precious experience. I just didn't think it was going to end up like this. I just really didn't. I've met some amazing people and some amazing instructors,” Marcos said. 

“It has been something precious with the people I have encountered. It is more than a friendship but a bond as a family; it is a sweet experience.”