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True North Youth Program

Navigating Opportunities for Teens

Our MISSION: True North inspires individual determination and teaches self-advocacy by providing year round positive youth development programs for teens in our rural San Miguel region who have limited access to resources, opportunities, and support.

Our VISION: With the support of adult Navigators, we envision that every teen participant in True North Youth Program will graduate from high school with a plan and a path to follow into adulthood.



Pictured above: students with our Co-founders, Lanier Nelson, Betsy Walker and Vivian Russell. 


In February 2014 three longtime mentoring professionals, with over forty years of combined experience working with youth, along with several leaders in the community, Social Services, and Nonprofit sectors, identified a serious service gap among our region's teen population. Due to a lack of family and financial support, many teens were not thriving; were not preparing for their future; were not succeeding in their academics; and were not having positive experiences in their social life. There had been no teen specific programs that provided them with positive youth development engagement and growth opportunities outside of school or sports.

True North Youth Program fills the gap by providing year-round, free programming for teens in five core programs: Community Service Learning, Academic Tutoring and Support, Positive Youth Development through Outdoor Recreation, Rising Stars Summer Bridge Program and College & Career Readiness. We've grown from an all volunteer organization, to now having 3 staff and from serving 6 students to over 1600 students and their families. We look forward to continuing the growth of the True North family, so reach out and get involved! 

PAUL YOO, Telluride Academy 

"Year-round prorams like True North are essential  because they offer young people unique opportunities to learn and grow.  I have witnessed first hand the positive effects TRUE NORTH has had on our youth, and strongly support everything they have done to better our community"

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