Recently, I had a great visit with the players and staff at the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation, located at San Felipe Pueblo, NM. The NB3 Foundation was founded by 4-time PGA Tour winner Notah Begay III in 2005, with the mission to reduce the incidences of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes and promote the leadership development of Native American youth through evidence-based sports, health, and wellness programs.
Located about 30 miles north of Albuquerque, San Felipe Pueblo is home to about 3,000 people and is the main program site for NB3. The kids play on a gorgeous synthetic turf field, which NB3 built in 2009. The players were clearly very proud of their “home turf” and the field is truly the only green spot as far as the eye can see.
The day I visited, I got to see about 40 second graders participate in NB3’s afterschool soccer program. The kids warmed up, did a few drills, played a few small-sided games, and then finished with circuit training (jumping jacks, mountain climbers, etc.). They were coached by staff from NB3, which included some of their “Healthy Champions” – older youth who have gone through the program and are now learning to be leaders in their community. Practice was a full two hours of constant motion – and might I add that everyone looked sharp in their jerseys – purchased from www.soccer.com with a Program grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
The coaches made sure to keep the kids well-hydrated as the temperature topped 100 degrees! In addition to physical activity, NB3 also focuses on health and nutrition education and makes sure that those lessons are incorporated into every soccer activity. They also provide the kids with healthy snacks. When I visited, the kids were having plums! Currently, NB3 runs soccer, golf, health, and youth leadership programs in New Mexico, South Dakota, California, and New York. The U.S. Soccer Foundation awarded Program Grants to NB3 in 2011 and 2013, as part of our Annual Grants cycle. We are proud to support this great organization, as well as others nationwide. Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming grants cycle as well as more grantee spotlights!