ZUNI, NM (Mar. 26, 2021) — This month, the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project prepared 550 wellness kits for students at Shiwi Ts’ana Elementary School in Zuni Pueblo. The nonprofit youth organization distributed 300 kits directly to students on Mar. 12 and delivered the rest to the school; teachers will provide them to students who were unable to attend the in-person event.

For these springtime kits, ZYEP assembled a wide variety of materials dedicated to physical activity and healthy living. Each wellness kit included a fruit infuser pod, deck of Zuni-English flash cards with images related to agriculture and gardening, cilantro seeds for students to grow at home, information and activities focused on nutrition labels, a poster tracking the seven-week course of nutrition and agriculture lessons in which the student will participate, a bingo card featuring healthy-living activities, a hula hoop, a ball and bean bag for physical education lessons, and STEM activity cards from Explora, a science museum in Albuquerque.

In addition, the ZYEP team is developing a second set of Zuni exercise cards. These will be distributed with art class materials in the coming weeks.

According to Executive Director Joe Claunch, ZYEP has delivered more than 5,000 kits to youth and community members in Zuni Pueblo in the last 12 months. Each distribution has featured its own theme and unique contents — and, he said, there are more to come.

“Our next distribution will be focused on agriculture and water conservation, as we’re heading into the new growing season,” he noted. “We’re honored to serve our community in this way, since it’s still not safe to bring together large groups for in-person programming. These kits give us an important opportunity to connect with our kids, to encourage them and let them know that we are still here for them. And our assessments indicate that this is having a meaningful impact.”

In keeping with ZYEP’s holistic approach, each of the 2020-21 kits have included nutrition, physical activity, art, mental health, and cultural resources that encourage healthy lifestyles. The youth project partnered with 20 funding organizations and hundreds of individual donors to make the initiative possible.

To learn more about the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project and its programs, and for information about making donations, partnering with ZYEP, and volunteering, call (505) 782-8000 or visit zyep.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest news and events, follow the nonprofit youth organization on Facebook (/zuniyouthenrichmentproject), Instagram (@zuniyouthenrichmentproject), and YouTube (/ZuniYouth).

Founded in 2009, the nonprofit Zuni Youth Enrichment Project is dedicated to promoting resilience among Zuni youth so they will grow into strong, healthy adults who are connected with Zuni traditions. ZYEP fulfills its mission by providing positive role models, enriching programs, and nurturing spaces that contribute to the healthy development of Zuni youth. ZYEP strives to provide every child with the encouragement and opportunities they need to reach their full potential.