Health Without Barriers 

Learn how to feel happier and healthier as a family. 

Health Without Barriers is a 6-week family program aimed at helping youth, ages 11-19 years old, and their family members feel happier and healthier.


This program provides:

  • Interactive health and wellness education
  • A structured family support group
  • Hands-on cooking and nutrition classes
  • Resources for teens to better navigate stress and make healthy choices

This program is free, dinner is provided, and the whole family (siblings younger and older, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and caregivers) is welcome to participate.

Ready to learn more?

If you would like to enroll, please contact us by phone or email:

If you do not have time to send an email or make a call, you can also fill out this survey so we can contact you at a later date.

When we connect, we’ll talk with you about the program, availability and whether or not this would be a good fit for your family.

To learn about Health Without Barriers in Spanish, check out this page.



Next Program Start Date:

April 30, 2024, in Bayfield, CO

Be on the lookout for upcoming programs in 2024 and their respective locations!

Who can participate?

Families with teenagers ages 11-18 that live in La Plata, Montezuma, or Archuleta counties.

Who is putting on this program?

We are a team of community members, facilitators, and researchers from Extension and Colorado State University. Our goal is to work with communities to offer programs that support youth and families to feel less stressed and healthier. All families should have access to programs to decrease stress and improve health!

Mission Statement:

We want to help families living in Southwest Colorado lead healthier and happier lives by teaching skills that promote healthy habits and build on family strengths to improve well-being!

Program Details

Program Summary
  • The program meets twice a week and is split into two sessions- Family Night and Cooking Matters night.  
  • During Family Night parents/other adults, teens, and younger siblings will have their own separate classes and we come back at the end to have a healthy meal together.  
  • Teen Mindfulness (11-19 years old)
  • Teens & Siblings (6-10 years old): Physical Activity
Family Night
  • Parents: Family Support
    • In a group with other parents and a facilitator, parents will talk about different ways to help their family be happier and healthier Parents can learn: 
      • How to encourage your family to try new foods and pick up healthier habits 
      • How to manage your family’s screen time and sleep routines 
      • How to keep track of and achieve your family’s personal health goals
  • Teen Mindfulness
    • Teens learn about and practice mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention to the present, on purpose, and with kindness.  
    • Practicing mindfulness helps with: 
      • Strengthening attention, focus, and performance 
      • Riding the ups and downs of emotions with inner strength and balance 
      • Managing with stress 
      • Helping parents and teens know best practices 
  • Teens & Siblings: Physical Activity
    • Each week during the program, teens and their siblings take part in fun activities that encourage physical activity. 
    • The teens participate in physical activity focused on cardio, strength, and resistance training.  
    • Siblings ages 6-10 engage in game-based physical activity.  
    • There is a family fitness night in which all family members are invited to participate in a fun session of activities to engage in healthy activity and movement. 
  • Siblings (3-5 years old): Preschool curriculum
    • The preschool curriculum involves siblings ages 3-5 years old who can participate in a class that teaches them about eating new foods while their parents and siblings are in their sessions.  
    • The curriculum teaches how plants grow and where food comes from, especially fruits, vegetables, dairy, milk, and protein. 
Weekly Cooking Classes
  • Each week, families will participate in a hands-on cooking class by Cooking Matters. Families come together to cook and eat a new healthy meal.  
  • Families learn how to identify nutritious foods through lessons aimed at skills-building.  
  • Lessons include label reading, taste testing, food preparation, and grocery shopping. 
  • Families are given a bag of groceries so that they can cook the same meal at home on another day! 
  • How many sessions is the program?
    • The program is 6 weeks with sessions twice a week. There are a total of 12 sessions.
  • What time are the sessions?
    • The sessions are held after typical school and work hours.
  • What are the benefits of participating?
    • You and your family might:
      • Feel less stressed
      • Learn new ways to cope with stress
      • Improve your mood
      • Gain nutrition knowledge
      • Learn new, healthy recipes
      • Learn healthy eating patterns
      • Gain knowledge about self-care
      • Improve your health
  • Can I still sign up if I am going to miss a week of the program?
    • You can still participate if you are going to miss some sessions.
    • However, people get the most out of participating the more they come; we encourage families to try not to miss more than one week (or two sessions) of the program.
    • We are happy to schedule make-up sessions if possible.
  • Do you provide childcare?
    • Yes, we provide childcare vouchers. If the siblings are ages 3-5 years old, they can participate in their own preschool curriculum. If they are 6-10 years old, they can participate in physical activity.
  • My child has an allergy, can you accommodate that?
    • We are able to accommodate all allergies and dietary restrictions.
  • My child has learning accommodations, can you accommodate that?
    • Yes, we can support any assistance that may be needed in terms of reading and writing.
  • My child has asthma, can they still participate in physical activity?
    • Possibly: We advise checking with your primary care provider to understand if this program would be a good fit for your child.
  • What is mindfulness?
    • Mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware of one’s present-moment experience with compassion and openness. We will practice mindfulness throughout the program, and we will also give you and your teen some ways to try to practice this at home.
Meet the Team
  • Our Team in the Southwest of Colorado
    • Nicole Clark, Program Director
    • Lyndsey Parrott, Program Coordinator
    • Elvia German, Program Coordinator & Parent Educator
    • Mayra, Physical Activity Facilitator
    • Tomas, Teen Mindfulness Facilitator
    • Mya, Cooking Matters Facilitator
  • Our Team at CSU
    • Lauren Shomaker, Program Director/Clinical Psychologist
    • Vicky Jimenez, Program Coordinator
    • Megan Moran, Graduate Research Assistant
    • Ana Gutierrez-Colina, Clinical Psychologist
  • Colorado State University Department of Human Development and Family Studies
  • Cooking Matters
    • Cooking Matters is a program run by Share our Strength, a nonprofit working to solve hunger and poverty in the United States. The goal of this program is to inspire families to create healthy, affordable meal options.
Community Resources

Here is a link to family resources in La Plata County, including therapy and counseling, crisis and emergency services, medical care, food resources, and child and youth services.


Interested in donating to Health Without Borders, check out this page.