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Jun 20, 2017

Summer Fun Has Begun!

The school year has come to an end, and it’s mid-June in the Sonoran Desert. Temperatures are soaring over 100 degrees. For the kids living in the district of Gu Vo on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, it can be difficult to find fun, productive activities during the summer months, but NAAF has the solution: The Gu Vo Academic Summer Adventure Program (SAP)!

This year NAAF has once again partnered with the Al Jek Recreation Center in Menager’s Dam, Gu Vo for our summer program. Al Jek is a great, newer facility, with its own kitchen, multi-purpose rooms, play area, and even a pool! We are excited to incorporate swimming lessons into this year’s curriculum. What a great way to cool off, and stay active!

The goal of the program is to continue academic lessons through the summer, build our youths’ self-esteem, spark curiosity, and shape strong, healthy, contributing members of society. June 12, 2017, marked the start of the seventh year of the program, which benefits 40 students per day for six weeks. The program focuses on teaching reading, writing, math, technology, science and other STEM activities, and health education. Also incorporated are the teaching and development of traditional Tohono O'odham art, handcrafts, language, gardening, and cultural history. The program also combines physical and psychological safety, supportive relationships, appropriate structure, athletics, opportunities to belong, positive social norms, support for efficacy and mattering, opportunities for skill building, and integration of family, school, and community efforts into the program. We follow these and all of the Arizona Quality Standards for Out-of-School Time Programs. This summer we are also teaching the youth how to say no to underage drinking and substance abuse through the evidence based “Too Good for Drugs and Violence” curriculum.

Every year we get a great response from the kids enrolled in the program. For many, it is one of the only times during the year when they will have the opportunity to explore outside of the reservation, and we have some really exciting field trips lined up this year, with trips to the Biosphere 2, Kitt Peak Observatory, the Tohono O’odham Truck of Love, and a few cultural heritage sites.

With your help, we are bringing another great summer program to the amazing kids of the Gu Vo District in 2017. Going forward, as our programs continue to grow and inspire, we hope to branch out to the other districts of the Tohono O’odham Nation who so desperately need healthy, safe, educational, and creative outlets, especially during the summer months when school is not in session.

All of us at NAAF truly appreciate your help with funding for our programs. Your generous donations have helped to make the programs a success, and we are extremely grateful. Thank you!

May 31, 2017

What a Great Year!

Well friends, it’s hard to believe, but another school year has come and gone, and what an incredible year it has been for the youth of the Gu Vo Academic After-School Program! I think it is safe to say that this has been the best year yet. Thanks to your generous, continued support, our program continues to grow, and to provide more and more opportunities for the youth of Gu Vo to realize their potential, to set positive goals, and to lead healthy and active lives.

Perhaps the best measure of success that we have for our program is the number of students enrolled who graduate from high school and middle school. This year we are so excited to report that we have more high school and middle school graduates from the program than any previous year! This year we had 6 high school graduates, and 8 middle school graduates in our program. In addition, as has been the case since we first started the program 6 years ago, none of the students enrolled in the program have dropped out of school. In an area where the dropout rate is over 50%, this is an enormous accomplishment!

This year, our district of Gu Vo had more graduates than any other district in the Tohono O’odham Nation. While we are proud of this accomplishment, it also serves to show the need for similar programs throughout the other districts on the reservation. We consider our programs to be pilot programs, and it is our hope that, going forward, we will have the resources to implement similar programs throughout the Nation. 

Each after-school session is made up of lessons in math, reading, writing, composition, STEM lessons, tribal culture and tradition, art-and-crafts, and play time. Our students cannot wait to get to the program, and they always hate to leave. Each day, we serve a healthy and delicious meal and snack, prepared according to USDA guidelines to promote healthy. In an area where access to resources like nutritious food and educational services are so limited, our program is vital to the continued growth and health of Tohono O’odham youth.

Your help in making this program a success is also vital, and all of us at NAAF - the staff, volunteers, kids, and parents involved in the program - thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts. You are helping us to make a real difference in a beautiful place with so much to offer, and so many challenges to overcome. Together we can help the Tohono O’odham Nation to thrive as it should!

Mar 20, 2017

A Summer Adventure is Just Around the Corner!

Dear Friends,

Summer is just around the corner, and NAAF is getting ready for our Gu Vo Academic Summer Adventure. This year we hope to have even more participants, and we will be partnering once again with the Al Jek Recreation Center, which is a great new facility, and conveniently located for the community.

The goal of the Gu Vo Academic 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.

The students will take field trips to educational hotspots such as Kitt Peak, The Pima Air & Space Museum, and 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.

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.

For 2016’s Summer Adventure Program, NAAF teamed up with the USDA and Arizona Department of Education to provide tasty and nutritious lunches and snacks to the students and staff of the Summer Adventure Program through the Summer Food Service Program. The guidelines of the program ensured that the campers would enjoy well rounded, delicious meals that promote a healthy diet. We will continue this service for the 2017 Summer Adventure.

NAAF was honored to receive the USDA Summer Sunshine Award for exemplary food service in our Summer Adventure Program. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff, volunteers, and the community as a whole, we served a total of 3,273 meals during our 6 week program in 2016!

With your help, we hope to bring another great summer program to the amazing kids of the Gu Vo District in 2017. Going forward, as our programs continue to grow and inspire, we hope to branch out to the other districts of the Tohono O’odham Nation who so desperately need healthy, safe, educational, and creative outlets, especially during the summer months when school is not in session.

All of us at NAAF truly appreciate you, and your help with funding for our programs in the past. Your generous donations have helped to make the program a success, and we are extremely grateful. Thank you so much!

 
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