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Dec 13, 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!

The Store
The Store
Sep 20, 2017

NAAF Had a Fun & Successful Summer!

Check out what NAAF has been up to!

NAAF had a fun and successful summer!

Youth Council

NAAF assisted the Tohono O'odham Nation's Youth Council with their annual youth conference in Sells, Arizona.  The theme this year was "Empowering our youth through love and himdag (culture); One heartbeat at a time."  The conference took place over a period of two days June 29-30, 2017.  The youth conference served as a tool to encourage, foster, and strengthen our Nation's youth to become great leaders in their own way in their communities, districts, and most importantly in their individual lives.  This year there were more than 200 attendees.

Unity Conference 

This summer we sponsored our Youth Council’s participation in UNITY, the largest and oldest Native youth network organization in the country. At the Unity conference, Native youth have the opportunity to engage in a series of regional and national youth leadership trainings that provide a plan for developing and implementing service projects in their communities. Last year UNITY celebrated 40 years! Today we begin anew - ready to continue to grow and expand NAAF’s service mission to empower youth. UNITY has grown to 165 youth councils in 36 states, and this year's conference attendance was the largest, with more than 1,800 Native youth and advisors from all over the United States, including Hawaii, Alaska, and also Korea.




Biosphere2 Summer Science Academy

Thanks to a generous grant, four students representing the Tohono O’odham Nation attended the Biosphere 2 Summer Science Academy. Thirty-two high school students from at least four countries lived and learned on the Biosphere 2 campus. In this unique educational experience, students studied earth and ecosystem sciences, participated in hands-on research projects and experiments, and collected data while working side-by side with Biosphere2 researchers. The program culminated with the students making a formal presentation of their research findings. The participants involved in Biosphere2 each received a $2095 scholarship for completing the program.


Academic Summer Adventure

Thank you for providing the students of GuVo District another academically enriching and stimulating summer!  Our summer started with one week of day camp at Truck of Love Camp with over 140 students attending. The camp included fitness, cultural crafts, teaching of health through fun games, breakfast and lunch, and was operated by a team of over 30 volunteers. The Academic Summer Adventure Program operated for 6 weeks through a partnership with the Al Jek Rec Center, where 40 students received daily tutorials in math and reading.  The students’ favorite trips this summer included Biosphere2 in Tucson and OdySea Aquarium in Phoenix.


Summer Highlights

  • Healthy People Coalition is accepting new members to complete sectors

  • Collaborating with Healthy O’odham Promotion Program (HOPP) with the Desert Run Under the Sun Marathon
  • Walking Group Started!
  • Community Clean Up hosted by Youth Council
  • Western Area Youth Conference
  • Attended Language Revitalization Workshop in Flagstaff
  • Summer Garden Harvesting
  • 420 Meals Served this summer
  • 1,397 Miles driven to grocery store this summer
  • 1st ever Vacation Bible School
Aug 31, 2017

Here Comes Another Great Year!

The Tohono O'odham Youth!
The Tohono O'odham Youth!


Greetings from the NAAF Staff, Volunteers, Students, and Parents!

 It’s already here! The 2017/2018 school year has begun, and we are ready to go. This year we will be running the Gu Vo Academic After-School Program in a beautiful new facility, the Al Jek Recreation Center, in the remote village of Menager’s Dam, Gu Vo. We have partnered with the Al Jek Recreation Center, and will be combining our efforts to serve twice as many students by providing quality tutoring in math, reading, and S.T.E.M. subjects. We will also continue to empower out students to avoid the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and violence, through our Too Good for Drugs and Violence curriculum. Our partnership with the USDA continues, and we will be providing healthy and delicious snacks and suppers each day, and modeling a healthy lifestyle and diet. Perhaps most importantly, we will continue to provide lessons, stories, and arts and crafts that help to preserve the cultural heritage and language of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Last year was the most successful year we have had yet for our program. For the sixth year in a row, none of the students enrolled in our programs dropped out of school, or out of the program. We consider this a huge success in an area where a dropout rate of over 50% is the norm. We are extremely proud to report that the District of Gu Vo had more graduating high school seniors than any other district in the T.O. Nation. This is solid proof that our programs are working, and are providing a valuable and much needed service to the deserving people of Gu Vo. Education is the key to opening up more opportunity to the at risk youth of this remote area, and the youth are stepping up to the plate to make it happen. We couldn’t be more proud!

We would especially like to mention two of the graduating seniors from our program; River and Verland. Both River and Verland graduated last year, and are going on to college and bright futures. Both of these young men have been a big help in our program, and to the community in general. As members of the Gu Vo Youth Council, they have represented their peers faithfully in helping to make the important decisions that dictate the policies of the District. River and Verland have also been great role models to our youth, and serve as mentors in both our After-School program and our Summer Adventure Program. Kudos River and Verland! We are so proud of you both, as well as the other graduates from Gu Vo.

Your support is what makes these successes possible, and we are endlessly grateful for all that you do. Every donation counts, and goes towards supplies, curriculum, healthy food, educational field trips, and the hiring of experienced and dedicated tutors and program managers. Thank you so much for all you do! We are looking forward to another great year!

Sincere thanks,
Jeremy Paxton, Director of Development
Native American Advancement Foundation (NAAF)

Summer Adventure Program!
Summer Adventure Program!
T.O. the Top!
T.O. the Top!
Gu Vo Rocks!
Gu Vo Rocks!
Congratulations Verland!
Congratulations Verland!
Way to go River!
Way to go River!
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