The goal of our summer enrichment 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.
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 50% 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). Our mission is to encourage learning and curiosity amongst our youth, thus breaking the cycle of poverty.
By showing our youth the fun and adventure of learning through educational field trips, stimulating lessons, and the history of the Tribe, we instill a lifelong love of learning that will keep these kids in school.
The long-term effects of this program will keep kids in school on a reservation that has the highest high school dropout rate in the country. This program shows students how fun learning can be. For many of these kids, the educational field trips are the first time they have been off the reservation. It is truly a joy to see them experience new things and develop a love of learning. By raising the graduation rate, all of the Tohono O'odham Nation (pop. 28,000) benefits.