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Mar 23, 2018

A Summer Adventure Awaits!

Dear Friends,

To say that southwestern Arizona gets hot in the summertime would be an understatement. With temperatures reaching as high as 115 degrees, it's all to easy to fall into the summer doldroms, and out in the remote Gu Vo District of the Tohono O'odham Nation, there isn't a whole lot for kids to do when it's too hot to play outside. Luckily, NAAF has a solution for the summer doldroms; our Academic Summer Adventure Program! 

The goal of the Gu Vo Summer Adventure Program is to promote education, build our youths’ self-esteem, spark curiosity, and shape strong, healthy, contributing members of society. The program focuses on teaching reading, math, technology, and health education. Also incorporated are the teaching and development of traditional Tohono O’odham art, handcrafts, language, gardening, and cultural history. Through the use of Cubelets (robotic building blocks that behave differently depending on how they are assembled) the children are taught beginning Robotics and Programming as they build and experiment. Between class periods, students will break for healthy snacks and exercise. Each day will provide the students with an active schedule that will enrich them both mentally and physically.

Our Acadmic Summer Adventure Program provides a safe, air conditioned place for students to go each weekday to learn, play and receive a healthy meal and snack. The students will take field trips to educational hotspots such as Kitt Peak, The Pima Air & Space Museum, Biosphere 2, as well as important locations on the reservation such as the historic village Kukatch—ancestral lands where the kids learn respect for elders and basic survival techniques.

The students, parents, and NAAF staff always have a great time during this program, and this year we are on track to serve more students than any previous year, with as many as 80 possilbe participants. We will keep you posted with pictures, stories and short bios about our students once the program is underway. As always, thank you so much for supporting the amazing students of the Gu Vo District. They face many unique challenges, and your donations help to give them the opportunities and rescources that they so need and deserve. Thank you!

Mar 12, 2018

Check Out What NAAF Has Been Up To!

NAAF After School Program
The Gu Vo Community After School Program (ASP) provides homework help, academic enrichment, recreation, physical fitness, and life skills to students in the Gu Vo District. In working with the families and community members of Gu Vo District, we provide a safe and engaging environment for our children. We also provide a healthy snack and meal at the end of each day. Some of the activities include cultural studies that will enhance the students understanding of their Himdag (traditional way of life), S.T.E.M projects, arts and crafts, and outdoor physical activities. Tia, age 12 says, “I like the after school program because they help us with our homework and it’s fun hanging out with my friends. I especially like the arts and crafts that we do. All of my friends like coming here.” With the help of our volunteers and providing all the necessary tools needed to successfully run this program, we are helping our children become well-rounded, contributing members to our community and our Nation.

We are thrilled to announce The Store is now open!
The Store, a small grocery store located in Gu Vo District, celebrated its Grand Opening on January 13th, 2018. NAAF and the Healthy People Coalition, alongside Gu Vo District members, helped start The Store in an effort to address the need for access to food. A nonprofit run by volunteers andinterns, The Store also serves as a resource for job training and resume building. Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Edward Manuel, Gu Vo District Chairman Rodrick Manuel, and Gu Vo Royalty, attended the Grand Opening ribbon-cutting celebration, which also included a traditional blessing by Gus Antone, a performance from traditional drumming group Four Winds, face painting by Wanda Wriston, a meal prepared by John Fitts and Sonya Frank, and a cake baked by Cody Manuel. Proceeds generated by The Store help maintain this service, and all profit goes back into helping run the many educational programs offered in Gu Vo District. Thank you to the many volunteers who made this day possible, and all who came out to join the celebration!

Grad Solutions is at Full Enrollment!
Grad Solutions is a high school credit recovery program NAAF partnered with back in 2015. We currently have 13 enrolled students ranging from he ages of 17-45. Our program provides laptops, and mobile WiFi hotspots for internet access for students to log in for their academics. Evrin, age 22 says, “When I heard about Grad Solutions, I thought to myself this is a program I need to get in to. I enrolled myself in the program because I want to get my high school diploma. Because of personal reasons having to deal with an unhealthy situation at home, I dropped out of high school and now I regret it. I see how hard it is to get a job without a diploma and now that I have a second chance at getting it, I push myself everyday to make it to class. I thank NAAF and everyone involved for giving me the support I need to be successful and getting one step closer to getting my diploma.”

NAAF Collaboration with U of A Writing Class
This February, NAAF was delighted to host a group of students from U of A professor Brad Jacobson's Business Writing Class. Brad's class will be working with NAAF to develop profiles of some of the students in our programs, as well as NAAF interns, volunteers, and other collaborators from the Gu Vo Community. The U of A students will also be learning about much of the work that NAAF does, from developing, implementing, and maintaining our programs, to applying for the grants that support these programs. The visit was a lot of fun, and the students were treated to a tour of Gu Vo, and the facilities where we operate our programs. The students met with local skaters, spent time with interns and volunteers at The Store, and had a lot of fun getting to know the students in our ASP at the HOPP facility, where they participated in some fun exercises and games. At the end of the visit, the students from the U of A and from the ASP were treated to some delicious "Indian Tacos," which were lovingly prepared by volunteers at The Store. NAAF is excited and inspired to work with these amazing students!

Introducing Jordan Evans, NAAF's New CEO!
Jordan Evans, originally from Texarkana, Texas, grew up spending summers with her grandparents in the District of Gu Vo on the Tohono O’odham Reservation. Jordan attributes many of her character traits to her experiences on the reservation, including her sense of curiosity and respect of tradition. Jordan’s passion for community and helping others served as a catalyst to move from the corporate arena into the world of nonprofit. Having always been proud of her heritage and thankful for how it shaped her as a person, joining NAAF was nothing short of a dream come true. Welcome to the NAAF team, Jordan!

Dec 18, 2017

2017 Has Been a Great Year!

Dear Friends,

As I write to you, the temperature in the Gu Vo District is 80 degrees, but that's chilly by our standards! As 2017 winds down to a close, NAAF has so much to be grateful for, and also to be proud of. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, and the hard work of our staff and volunteers, NAAF has continued to grow in its mission to strengthen the Gu Vo Communities in the areas of education, health and wellness, housing, food sustainability, environment, animal welfare, and opening economic opportunities on tribal lands. We have so much to tell you about what we have been up to!

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, our small staff of 2 full time and one part time employees and 25 wonderful volunteers, NAAF has been privilaged to support the Gu Vo communities in 2017 by:

• Providing educational services to over 60 students in a district where the dropout rate is over 50%.

•Providing 3570 healthy and delicious meals, and 2288 snacks in our After School Program

• Driving a total of 12,739 to provide transportation to those in need, and pick up groceries

• Helping 7 young volunteers get their drivers licenses

As we enter the season of giving, there is so much that can be done to continue changing the lives of those who have so little. You can help:

A donation of $50 will sponsor fuel for one trip to the grocery store to buy food for one week.

A donation of $75 pays for one week of school for one student to work on a high school diploma through our Virtual Learning Center.

A donation of $100 will feed 20 students for one week in our After School Program.

A donation of $750 will pay for one educational field trip for the kids in our Summer Adventure Program.

The Store

We are excited to announce the opening of The Store in GuVo Village! The Store was started in response to community members’ need for access to food, previously a 90- mile drive away. The Store is a 900-square foot retail grocery market stocking basic food, hygiene, and household items. Now, instead of an extra long drive to the grocery store, community members can shop for their basic needs. The Store also serves as a job training and resume building opportunity. Young women and men who have participated in the NAAF programs are able to volunteer and work at The Store. The Store provides a place where young people can work, supplement their income, help provide for their families, receive job training, and build their resumes for future employment opportunities.

Gu Vo District Youth Council 

The GuVo District Youth Council played a vital role in the success of NAAF's programs. This dedicated group of student mentors volunteered countless hours for numerous events NAAF hosted this past year. Their community outreach with NAAF’s After School program involved teaching traditional songs and social round dancing, living drug and alcohol free lifestyles, creating awareness about suicide prevention, and engaging youth in outdoor recreational activities. The Council hosted a youth conference themed "Empowering our youth through love and culture one heartbeat at a time.” They held an overnight camp for Honoring Veterans through O'odham Voices, as well as a Saguaro Fruit Harvest overnight camp. They organized a Get Out The Vote campaign, community clean ups, Fun Runs with Diabetes Awareness workshops, and a spiritual run. These fun and educational gatherings included traditional games, cultural sharing, storytelling, and guest speakers. The events were All-Ages and averaged between 75-100 participants.

Virtual Learning Center
At over 50%, dropout rates within the Tohono O'odham Nation are among the highest in the country. Students often drop out due to circumstances beyond their control, though they would like to earn their diplomas. Through a partnership with Grad Solutions, our Virtual Learning Center provides students the opportunity to earn their diplomas at their own pace, through online instruction. We are excited to report that our Grad Solutions program is now at full enrollment!

 

Thanks to your generous donations, 2017 has been a great year for NAAF. We hope to make 2018 even better, and with your help, we can make that happen. Thank you so much!

Happy Holidays from all of us at NAAF!

 
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