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Jun 24, 2016

Academic Summer Adventure Going Great!

As we enter the fourth week of our 2016 Academic Summer Adventure, we could not be happier with the way things are going. We have close to 40 youth attending each day who are doing amazing work with their studies, eating a nutritious lunch and snack each day, and taking educational field trips across the state of Arizona. 

Fewer than half of the Tohono O’odham community’s adults have completed high school (the lowest rate of all U.S. Native American tribes). A dropout rate in excess of 51% continues to be the norm. Lack of education has an enormous impact on the future, since the population is statistically young: 52.2% of the population is under 25- years-old (compared with 35.3% of the United States).

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 6, 2016, marked the start of the sixth 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. Also this summer for the first time we are teaching the youth how to say no to underage drinking and substance abuse through Too Good for Drug Lessons.

As with our academic after-school program, all of the youth involved in this program have already increased their reading, writing, and math skills and are almost caught up to their grade level if not already there!

Thank you from all of us at NAAF for continuing on this incredible journey with us, and thank you from the students. Even though they may not be concerned with the importance of donations or grants or funding, they are thanking you through their hard work, their dedication to their studies, through graduating high school and going on to college and even coming back to help this Tribe that is in bad shape. This Tribe is hurting, but we see amazing, positive change daily, and you are a huge part of that change, so thank you again, so much. We truly cannot thank you enough.

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Jun 9, 2016

What an Amazing Year for Our Youth!

Wow. What an incredible year for the Native American Advancement Foundation’s Gu Vo Academic After-School program! We averaged over 30 youth per session, improved our students' math, reading, writing, science (and other STEM activities) skills and didn’t have one student drop out of our program or school. This is fantastic, as the Tohono O’odham Nation battles a dropout rate of over 51%.

This amazing school year would never have been possible without your support. We hope you will consider continuing on this journey with us. This work is as beautiful as it is important, and we see real, positive change daily. 

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. 

This year we served over 3,600 healthy snacks and 3,600 healthy dinners prepared using the Mayo Clinic Cookbook for kids. The kids loved the food and learning about healthy living.

Moving forward, it is our hope to partner with other districts on the Tohono O’odham Nation to implement their own after-school programs based on our model, which combines physical and psychological safety, supportive relationships, appropriate structure, opportunities to belong, positive social norms, support for efficacy and mattering, opportunities for skill building, and integration of family, school, and community efforts.

Again, the success of our programs is not possible without the selfless, generous donations from people like you. Thank you SO much!

Mar 29, 2016

Summer Adventure is Coming

Dear Friends,

We are in the mid-planning stages for another great Academic Summer Adventure. We are so grateful to you for your past donations and hope you will continue down this path with us as we move into the summer months and our Gu Vo Academic Summer Adventure. This year we are continuing our partnership with the modern, beautiful Al Jek Recreation Center to host our program.

The goal of the program is to continue academic lessons in the summer, build our youths’ self-esteem, spark curiosity, and shape strong, healthy, contributing members of society. June 6, 2016, marks the start of the sixth year of the program, which benefits 60 students per day, 5 days a week, for six weeks. The program will focus 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.

Below are some great quotes from our students about last year's program:

"My favorite was when we went on the elevator!" Aldrina (age 7)

"My favorite part was reading on the computer and eating!" - Damian (age 6)

"The best was going to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. I love music. I love this camp because it is fun. We do math, reading, and writing in our journals. I think other kids should come to Summer Adventure. I also think we should play with water balloons next year!" - Autumn (age 11) 

"I most liked the part when we play games with the staff. I also liked going on field trips, learning and seeing new things. I didn't like that the program was only five hours a day. I wish it could've been longer." - Demetri (age 5)

"I liked when we danced Cumbia in the multipurpose room. That was fun. I loved all the arts and crafts, too. I plan on coming back next year." - Jaleesa (age 8)

"My favorite part is to go to math." - Keira (age 8)

"I like that we get to go on the laptop and do reading and math." - Dilah (age 8)

"I like math and reading on the laptops." - Rose (age 9)

Q: What was your favorite part of camp?
A: Getting wet by the firefighter.
Q: Why?
A: Because I got soaked and wet!
Q: What would you like to see at next year's camp?
A: Water balloons!
Q: Why is that?
A: Because we can get wet by them and cool down.
Q: That makes sense. Will you be coming back next year?
A: I would love to come back!
Q: That's great! Why?
A: Because we learn.
- Amoni (age 9)

The excitement in the village is building to see what we come up with this year. One thing is for certain, this will be our best year to date, as we strive to make each year better than the last! Please join us is supporting this amazing kids! 

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