Our Mission

Northern Youth Project collaborates with organizations to touch the lives of more than 200 youth from New Mexico and around the country each year. The program runs part-time during the school year and full-time in the summer.

We are making art out of garbage. I am new to Northern Youth Project. It’s cool and we do fun things. We are building a spider cat out of garbage and a couple TVs we found in arroyos and one watershed.
—Hope, 14

Art, writing and other creative projects chosen by teens are always in the mix, from traditional techniques to contemporary practices both simple and complex. Local and visiting artists teach workshops in an expansive range of disciplines, including photography, poetry, drawing, mural painting, pottery, graffiti, printing and recycled art. A mural wall located at the Northern Youth Project garden is always available to teens for free expression. Artwork created by participants is showcased at local venues and on our website, giving young people a chance to experience the business of art as well as the creative process.

I love the beauty of the garden and how we work with the nature around us.
—Haley, 15

Abiquiú is one of the oldest agricultural communities in our nation. NYP teens run a sustainable heritage-inspired garden with the goal of preserving traditional techniques, cultivating native crops, and cooking from the heart of the region. While visiting local farms, they get hands-on experience working with mentors to incorporate new ideas into the garden they plan, farm, and harvest each year. Teenagers eat, cook, share, and sell their produce, and gain academic and life skills as they care for this special place.

I like the history and positive impact my work will have in the community.
—L.S., 17

F.L.O.W. (Future Leaders of the World), Northern Youth Project’s business and leadership program, empowers teens to take charge. Fundraisers, programs, and community service projects are analyzed, initiated, organized, and executed under the management of the Northern Youth Project Youth Council. Teens plan and participate in entrepreneurial endeavors such as operating booths at local fiestas, selling their art and produce, and finding diverse ways to give back to the community.

NYP partners with diverse organizations in executing projects that preserve, strengthen, and enrich the community. Past and present partners include the Española YMCA Teen Center; Espanola Farmers Market; Pueblo de Abiquiu Library and Cultural Center; Ghost Ranch; La Puerta School for the Arts, Sciences, and Agriculture; Boys and Girls Club Santa Fe/Del Norte; Moving Arts Espanola; Northern Diné Youth Committee; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; New Mexico School for the Arts; and the New Mexico Acequia Association.

Northern Youth Project participants have put in many hours and raised thousands of dollars for other charitable organizations. Recent NYP service projects include a holiday drive for children in foster care, distributed through CYFD, and CASA First Judicial District, and helping to clean up and repair trails at Abiquiu Lake with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Funders


Although Northern Youth Project teens raise some of their own revenue, it is with the help from many generous individuals, organizations, and local businesses that our programs are made possible. Luciente, Inc., a community-based, 501(c)(3) organization, is the fiscal sponsor of the initiative. The Northern Youth Project garden site is provided by Tres Semillas Foundation, Inc.


In 2015, the Santa Fe Community Foundation awarded Northern Youth Project a coveted Chispa Award, given to organizations who are a shining light (chispa) in their communities and do “a lot with a little.” Other important organizations who have generously supported NYP include Clothing Helping Kids; Con Alma Foundation; United Way of Northern New Mexico; New Mexico Children’s Foundation; Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area; Dr. Gerald J. & Dorothy R. Friedman Medical Foundation, Inc.; Farm to Table New Mexico; Abiquiú Studio Tour; and Owl Peak Farm. More than 2,500 volunteer hours and thousands of dollars worth of in kind goods and services are donated each year to keep our program—and youth—thriving.