The Kiva Center’s Eco-Explorers after-school program is a primarily outdoors-based class focused on nature connection. Students explore the outdoor spaces in their local community and engage in group activities that encourage friendship, health, community service and fun! Seasonal activities include gardening, outdoor play, collaborative games, traditional arts and story-telling. The program runs throughout the entire school year.
The Kiva Center currently runs its afterschool programs for free to students at the following schools:
Castro Elementary School (in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver)
Tuesdays from 3:10-4:45 PM
CMS (Charles M. Schenck) Community School (in the Mar Lee neighborhood of Denver)
Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30 PM
In 2017, The Kiva Center joined the My Outdoor Colorado Westwood Coalition of local organizations to implement GOCO’s Generation Wild Initiative in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver, CO.
My Outdoor Colorado (MOC) is a visionary approach to connecting youth with the outdoors through strategic partnerships that provide access to nature education, recreation and skill-building opportunities. Access to the outdoors fosters a greater appreciation of the natural environment, provides opportunities to build an ethic of stewardship, and helps youth experience potential careers in the outdoors.
The Kiva Center participates through offering free nature connection programs and nature mentoring employment.
Success in Westwood
At the beginning of the program students in Westwood were asked “Do you feel it’s important to spend time outdoors?,” only 27% responded YES! At the end of the program,100% of respondents answered YES to this question!
When the same students were asked if they felt that they could make a difference in their community, the percentage of those who responded YES jumped from 14% at the start to 100% at the end of the end!
Pathways in Westwood
The Kiva Center has hired four local residents of the Westwood neighborhood to run our programming. They receive extensive training in nature-connection mentoring, personal development opportunities, and the chance to make a difference in their community.
Montse Corona, far left in the picture to the below, chose to change her major to education after her experience with Kiva Center.
Bianca Acosta, third from the left, inspired the youth to feel empowered to create change and connected them with their ancestral heritage