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13701 Skyline Drive NE, Suite B, Albuquerque, NM 87123-2327
Grant Received County Amount
Outdoor Equity Fund 2021 Bernalillo County $20,000
Outdoor Equity Fund 2023 McKinley County $40,000
Total Grants Awarded $60,000

The National Indian Youth Leadership Project (NIYLP) is a New Mexico-based, Indigenous-led 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization working over 34 years to develop healthy Indigenous communities through delivering positive youth development programs. Our mission is to help Indigenous youth to embrace their potential through outdoor adventure and service. NIYLP is a national leader in the field of experiential education and Indigenous positive youth development. NIYLP’s flagship program, Project Venture, is an evidence-based, culturally guided, outdoor experiential youthdevelopment program that promotes positive outcomes in outdoor adventure-based, experiential settings using traditional Indigenous modes of learning and culturally meaningful community service activities. Project Venture is a comprehensive model that addresses the health and wellness of middle school youth through engaging their minds, bodies and spirits. The program relies on Indigenous traditional values to help youth develop positive self-concepts, effective social skills, community service ethic, internal locus of control, resiliency, and increased decision-making and problem-solving skills. In 2007 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded Project Venture evidence-based status based on consistently outstanding evaluation data that demonstrated statistically significant outcomes around reducing or preventing high-risk behaviors in Indigenous middle school students. Evaluation outcomes show reductions in risky behaviors including substance abuse, teen pregnancy, violence, depression, and anxiety; and increases in positive youth development indicators including those related to competency, connection, character, caring, confidence, and contribution. SAMHSA’s 2004 National Study of High Risk Youth identified Project Venture as the most effective intervention for Indigenous youth in this study of 48 youth prevention programs. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Crime Solutions database lists Project Venture as a promising program for the prevention of alcohol and substance abuse and delinquent behavior in Indigenous youth. NIYLP provides direct services to youth in New Mexico, Arizona, and South Dakota, and capacity building training and guidance to Project Venture replication sites nationally and internationally. Over three-decades NIYLP has served thousands of Indigenous and at-risk youth in more than 90 replication sites across 25 states, Canada, Jamaica, and Europe.NIYLP has received many accolades over our long history. Among the more recent recognitions, the Association for Experiential Education awarded Project Venture Program of the Year in 2021. NIYLP was recognized in the Canadian Parliament as an organization having a positive impact on Indigenous youth. Two Indigenous communities (Pine Ridge Reservation and the Pikangikum First Nation (Ojibwe) in Ontario) whose youth have been experiencing especially devastating challenges showed zero suicides after five years of Project Venture programming. NIYLP is a featured trainer on Indigenous positive youth development in SAMHSA’s National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health’s (NNED) annual NNEDLearn. Almost 90% of NIYLP staff are Indigenous.