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 and Supporters


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. The Northern Youth Project Garden Site is provided by Tres Semillas Foundation, In our early years, Luciente, Inc., a community-based, 501(c)(3) organization, was our initial fiscal sponsor who supported us in the  beginning of the initiative. In 2015, Northern Youth Project became it's own 501(c)(3); made possible by our dedicated community and grantors! 

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 foundations who who have generously supported the early times of 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; and the Abiquiú Studio Tour.

As we are in our 14th year of existence; this youth organization has also been supported by: El Rito Studio Tour; Schmidt Family Foundation; The Kindle Project; Tewa Women United; Santa Fe Community Foundation; McCune Charitable Foundation; No Kid Hungry; Los Alamos Community Foundation; Del Norte LOV Foundation; Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Foundation; Rio Arriba County Commissioner's; Whole Kids Foundation; New Mexico State University: Healthy Soils Program and East Rio Arriba Soil and Water Conservation District. 

This list wouldn't be complete without noting the local farmers and growers who provide support, mentorship, and earth-based goods to our youth and families: Abiquiu and Espanola Farmer;s Market; Owl Peak Farm; Mother Nature Center; Abiquiu Greens; Malandro Farms; Ojo Farms; ReUnity Resources; Payne's Nursery; Plants of the Southwest; Querencia Creations; One Straw Farm; Agua Fria Nursery and MANY MORE! We thank you all for Supporting the Dreams of Northern New Mexico Teens!  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.

As our Garden is our Home, for many years, we didn't have a building to operate out of or have year-round programming. In 2019, we partnered with Northern New Mexico College: El Rito Campus to have Winter Programming that was possible due to use of their student center. In 2020, we partnered with the Healing Center in Abiquiu, which allowed us to finally have an office space! We have also collaborated with the Dar al Islam Mosque to host special events and also have access to their lovely kitchen for year-round projects. 

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.