NW Kids founder Jeremy Bowers overcame abandonment, neglect, and homelessness throughout his childhood and youth. Seeking out ways to help others in similar situations, he traveled the world and spent a year in the Balkans. He ended up in Jalisco, Mexico with a serious knee injury that needed surgery.
Bowers ended up meeting a “Curandero” (Mexican healer) who was able to fix his leg, and from there he rented some land in Mexico outside of Puerto Vallarta. “I always was into plants and nature and began restoring the land, “says Bowers. “When the neighborhood kids showed interest they would come to my house everyday to help. We began growing food for the community and I began to set the property up as a demonstration garden/Food Forest. It gained momentum as there is a huge need for access to healthy and fresh produce in these areas.”
From this garden came the idea for NW Kids. “It seems this program simply evolved organically out of simple needs being met. When children and young teens are given a stable platform to be creative and find expression beautiful things happen.” “We use a unique blend of science, art and modern technology to grow food for communities in need and visually transform urban areas.”
NW Kids currently has two projects running. The Indigo Azul project based in Puerto Vallarta serves local children and their families by teaching them how to grow food for themselves and their community. It also gives them other activities and classes to participate in.
The Culture Shock program focuses on a small group of teens in the states who will learn how to serve others. “[It] allows the youth from the United States to experience other cultures and be of service to people in need. This hands on approach helps theses youth to work on the challenges they face in their own communities at home as well as get a real world look at the challenges of other cultures.”
Currently, the project has been mostly self-funded by Bowers and a few like-minded friends, but it is striving to grow by raising social and financial support. It is also run completely by volunteers at the moment. Some current needs include hiring full-time staff in Puerto Vallarta and for administrative work.
“We have experienced living proof in this project that when kids are properly fed, nurtured and given the tools for psychical and mental well being they seem to figure things out for themselves,” says Bowers. “We are simply here to provide those tools and that space for them to learn and grow.”