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Native American Academic Summer Program

by Native American Advancement Foundation
Native American Academic Summer Program
Native American Academic Summer Program
Native American Academic Summer Program
Native American Academic Summer Program
Native American Academic Summer Program
Native American Academic Summer Program
Native American Academic Summer Program
Native American Academic Summer Program
Native American Academic Summer Program
Native American Academic Summer Program
Summer Sunshine Award!
Summer Sunshine Award!

Dear Friends,

NAAF’s Summer Adventure Program was a big hit this year, with more than 40 kids participating at the Al Jek and Sells Recreation centers. This year we partnered with the USDA and Arizona Department of Education to bring our kids delicious and nutritious meals every day, and we are proud to report that we are the recipients of the Summer Sunshine Award for the category of Reaching Rural, Tribal, and/or Underserved Communities, which recognizes sponsors who operate exemplary summer meal programs. What a great way to recognize all the hard work and dedication our staff and volunteers put into an outstanding summer program!

In a community where over 70% of the adult population lives with diabetes, it is so important to make health and nutrition part of the educational process. Through NAAF’s partnership with the USDA and AZDE, we were able to present healthy, balanced meals that provide the much needed fuel the kids need to have a happy and active lifestyle. The kids enjoyed the meals, and put their energy to good use, playing sports and swimming, and engaging in academic studies.

In addition to health and wellness, our Academic Summer Adventure Program seeks to keep kids engaged in academic lessons through the summer. We 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. 

This year, the kids had a blast going on some very exciting field trips, too. From touring the local radio station, to visiting the Pima Air and Space museum and chatting with WWII veterans, to swimming the public pools at Ajo and Sells to beat the summer heat, the kids stayed active mentally and physically and had a good time doing it. It was a fantastic summer, with great new memories and important life lessons.

The Academic Summer Adventure Program does so much good for so many deserving kids, and you are a big part of making that possible. Thanks to your kind and generous donations, we can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of these incredible kids. On behalf of the entire NAAF staff and volunteers, and all of the kids and families involved in the Summer Adventure Program, thank you so much for your continuing support. We continue to see positive changes in a community that struggles with high dropout rates, diabetes, and substance abuse by keeping kids engaged in healthy and growth oriented activities, and we couldn’t do it without your help. Thank you!

T.O. Word of the Day
T.O. Word of the Day

Our Academic Summer Adventure promotes education, builds youth self-esteem, sparks curiosity, and shapes strong, healthy, contributing members of society. This summer our students improved their reading, writing, math, and science skills in a fun and friendly environment. These dedicated youth were also treated to fun and educational field trips to locations in and out of their community.

Thanks to an in-kind donation from Laces of Grace, we distributed 69 pairs of brand new shoes to our students and other children in the community! We also distributed 40 new backpacks and luggage tags to students for the school year among other much-needed school supplies.

NAAF partnered with the USDA and Arizona Department of Education through the Summer Food Service Program to provide healthy and nutritious lunches and snacks to children in Gu Vo District and the Tohono O'odham Nation's capital, Sells District. This was a welcome addition to our program and gave us another opportunity to focus on health and wellness education on the Nation. A total of 3,273 meals and snacks were served over 6 weeks! It was a true delight seeing the youth respond positively to these healthy meals. At the Al Jek Recreation Center in Gu Vo District, we were honored to have guests from the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service team. Among them were Jesus Mendoza Jr., Western Regional Administrator; Sarah Stever, Program Specialist; Michael Ladd, Tribal Liaison; and Suzanne Callor, a Nutrition Program Specialist with the Arizona Department of Education. Our guests were treated to a traditional Tohono O'odham song, sung by three students about the four directions, as well as a warm welcome from Gu Vo Chairman Manuel. This visit meant so much to us as the USDA team traveled all the way from San Francisco to see our vibrant community in action.

This summer our students had an inside look at the roles associated with their Tribal Council at the Legislative Council Chambers in Sells District. They had the opportunity to meet with Legislative Council Chairman Timothy Joaquin and learn about the importance of the Council's work. To commemorate the experience, the students' picture was printed in the local newspaper, The Runner! On the way back to Gu Vo, the students were treated to a tour of the KOHN FM radio station in Ouijota. Many children later expressed how fun and educational the trip was for them. On another trip, our students were thrilled and inspired by the Pima Air and Space Museum, where they learned about the history of aircraft used during WWI and WWII. A few of the older youth were fortunate enough to speak with veterans at the museum. The veterans expressed enjoyment over speaking with the youth about their experiences as many of these servicemen were around the same age when they enlisted. In addition to these exciting adventures, the students loved swimming at the public pools in Ajo and Sells, AZ! What a fantastic summer! :)

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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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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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Dear Friends,

We are excited to report that one of our students from Summer Adventure 2015 was recently crowned Jr Miss Gu Vo District of the Tohono O’odham Nation! She is an excellent student with amazing manners and a sharp wit. We are certain she will be a great Jr Miss Gu Vo, and we can't wait to see her back at Summer Adventure 2016!

With great memories and outcomes from our Academic Summer Adventure 2015, we are hard at work planning our 2015 program. Due to the popularity of last summer's program, we are expecting at least 40 students per day. In the desert District of Gu Vo on the Tohono O'odham Nation, the triple digit summer heat and remoteness of area leave little for the kids to do on a well-deserved summer break. Luckily, these young scholars find solace in our Summer Adventure which is held inside a well air conditioned recreation center. The program runs five hours a day, five days a week, for six weeks. Each day students are fed a healthy snack and nutritious lunch. Providing these meals and teaching the kids about healthy eating is key on a Tribal Nation where over 70% of the adult population are living with type 2 diabetes.

Youth from all over Gu Vo District attend the program to receive lessons in reading, writing, mathematics, and STEM activities. Arts and crafts, cultural lessons, and theme weeks also play a major role. This year we have partnered with the Drawing Studio out of Tucson, AZ. An instructor will come to Gu Vo, stay for a week, and teach the students fantastic drawing lessons. When the students are not busy with all of this, they will be taking numerous field trips to educational sites all over Arizona. A few favorite field trips from last summer - the Musical Instrument Museum and the Arizona Science Center.

Over 51% of Tohono O'odham adults have not completed high school. By keeping our students engaged in the summer months through combining education and adventure, we continue our mission to keep these kids in school all the way through college graduation. We see the results of this daily as the kids light up with each new lesson from our after-school and summer programs. Our mission is working, but it is one that is ongoing. We cannot thank you enough for your past support and hope you will consider making another donation as we move forward. Together we can make a huge difference for these bright, amazing, underserved children. 

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Native American Advancement Foundation

Location: Tucson, AZ - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Jeremy Paxton
Tucson, AZ United States
$2,190 raised of $25,000 goal
 
67 donations
$22,810 to go
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