Our Learning Story

NWI’s methods include teaching gardening, nutrition, reading, learning skills, preventive health education, and Zumba and other exercises; providing wound care, basic first aid, preschool enrichment, and school enhancements including Internet service, GED aid, and a 3-D printer class to expand experiences for all students. Exciting opportunities for bettering Naco appear routinely now, and residents want to act on them. 

Naco’s education mission

Naco Wellness Initiative’s mission is to bring health and wellness education to all people living six miles away in Naco, Mexico. They are our neighbors; friendships go back decades. Their children will be our children’s neighbors for generations. The goal, for nearly 20 years now, is to help them live the healthiest, best possible lives, just as we wish for ourselves.

What Education Means to Us

The gardens and clinics are the foundation for everything NWI does to create community-wide health change in Naco, including:

  • Improve diets, health, and education to make it possible for all Naco residents, especially young people, to live in wellness. 
  • Provide a range of participative wellness opportunities so all ages can learn the basics and habits of healthier living. 
  • Broaden accessibility to essential health and health education to reduce the effects of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 
  • Enable Naco residents to work together in a supportive environment to sustain these health changes.

Local teachers say they would never have access to the educational and health resources NWI and its partners bring to them. Naco Wellness Initiative is pleased to foster these contributions. We celebrate them with our neighbors. Then it’s on to the next opportunity, always making sure the people of Naco can sustain the work themselves.

Learning With Purpose

“Educating people of all ages is like planting trees. We are building Naco’s health and education capacity for the future. An educated population is a resilient, thoughtful population, able to solve its own problems as they arise, to anticipate needs and meet them.” – Mary Cavalier, NWI Board Member

“We will all grow if we are allowed the space to do so. People just need the opportunity. That’s what Naco Wellness tries to provide in Naco.” – NWI Founder and Executive Director Tom Carlson


Come Learn with Us

Whether you want to see what we are doing so you may help your own neighbors, or you are eager to help us, visitors are always very welcome at our clinics and gardens. We share our gardening and wellness education ideas with anyone interested in doing similar things elsewhere. We incorporate everyone’s gifts and ideas in our work and welcome all helping hands.

Right now, NWI needs to restart its successful English language program for schoolchildren. For many years, volunteer tutors helped Naco students learn English to broaden their educational opportunities. This program needs a restart after Covid. Can you help?