Healing Across the Border
Photo by John Kurc
Welcome to NWI
Naco Wellness Initiative is a partnership providing health care, garden and wellness education, and economic development to the residents of Ambos Naco (Both Nacos) on the U.S.- Mexico Border in Naco, Arizona (pop. 1,100) and Naco, Sonora (pop. 5,770). NWI supporters north of the border provide financial help strategic planning, needed supplies, and organizational support. Naco, Sonora residents provide leadership, volunteer and paid labor, and outreach. We make decisions and celebrate accomplishments together. The border wall doesn’t stop us from helping neighbors.
Founded in Bisbee, Arizona, in 2004, Naco Wellness Initiative began by supplying monthly health services six miles away in both Nacos. Today two health clinics (Casa Saludables) in Naco, Sonora provide basic injury care, triage, and medical equipment loan; exercise, Zumba, and nutrition classes for all ages; walk-in blood sugar and blood pressure screenings anytime; well-being programs for senior citizens; educational opportunities, exercise, and healthy snacks for children; and periodic children’s dental exams. Some of these services now also extend into many Naco schools.
When it was clear that better nutrition would help many of the medical issues, NWI spearheaded a program to dig, plant, and grow gardens for dozens of families and two schools. The Covid Pandemic led to the development of a 1.50-acre San Jose Community Garden, complete with a reliable water supply guaranteed by the City of Naco, a high tunnel greenhouse, major compost operation, and harvest distribution services. The San Jose Organic Community Garden provides more than 20 kinds of fruits and vegetables to hundreds of Naco families and free state-of-the-art gardening knowledge to anyone who wishes to learn.
Naco Wellness receives financial support from these organizations across the United States: Arizona Community Foundation, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona Foundation, Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona, Cochise County Health Department, Copper Queen Community Hospital, Love of Christ Foundation, Arizona State University, Women and Children’s Hope Foundation, Cochise College, the City of Naco, and several Arizona non-profit organizations. With this help, we are empowering our NACO staffers to provide health services, education, gardening know-how, and fresh produce to their own neighbors.
Naco’s Great Need
NWI is a small 501c nonprofit working hard to deliver big benefits in health, education, food production, and social enterprise to the border area. NWI also empowers Naco, Sonora, community leaders, and volunteers to brainstorm and implement their own community solutions.
Support Our Community
Help support and empower the people of Naco.
You can donate one time, or set up monthly automatic donations. We appreciate your support.
Naco Wellness Initiative Featured Documentary on PBS
Esperanza sin Fronteras /Beyond Barriers” is the story of a community that transcends borders. The 5,770 people of Naco, Sonora, live across the border from a town by the same name – Naco, Arizona. Though they can see homes on the American side, they can’t visit them anymore. Economic opportunity also stops at the wall. Most of the people in Naco, Sonora, lack work, food, and clothing, though they are only six miles from the popular tourist town of Bisbee, Arizona.
Twenty years ago, Sonoran families could cross to Bisbee for health screenings and free or low-cost health care. The border wall stopped that. But the people north of the line remembered and reached out. Despite the barriers, neighbors, friends, and relatives from both sides of the Arizona-Sonora border found ways to partner together to change lives for the better.
You can view Part One of this documentary HERE.
Part Two COMING SOON in 2023!
Stay Connected With Us
Check Us out on Facebook
Naco Wellness Initiative staff and friends regularly post pictures and notices to highlight their activities and upcoming events for residents on both sides of the border. Visit us on Facebook to see the latest.
Through our email newsletter, Naco Wellness Initiative stays in touch with friends and supporters all over the hemisphere, sharing accomplishments and celebrations, partnership efforts, and even gardening notes. To read the latest, please sign up here.