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Get Malachi and Native American Students Like Him the Nutrition They Need to Succeed

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A smiling Malachi ready to catch up on his schoolwork at NAAF’s academic after-school program

Imagine loving going to school and learning but there being many obstacles for you and your friends getting there on a tribal reservation with a 51% dropout rate. Perhaps your family does not own a vehicle, and the school bus doesn’t come within 10 miles of your home. Maybe your family does own a vehicle, but your father leaves early each morning to make the two-hour drive to the nearest town for work. Or maybe you’re like Malachi, a third grader from the Tohono O’odham Tribe (Arizona) who lives down a narrow, seven-mile dirt road with steep drops on each side. His ancestors have been living in and around Gu Vo District on the Tohono O’odham Nation for thousands of years. Like the majority of students in Gu Vo, the only road to and from Malachi’s home becomes inaccessible when it rains.

It is common for Gu Vo youth like Malachi to frequently miss school because these dirt roads quickly change during rainstorms and are unsafe to navigate. Fortunately, Malachi is able to log into (GreaterGood.org partner) the Native American Advancement Foundation’s (NAAF) online support programs to continue his lessons when unable to attend school. In addition, NAAF’s retired teachers, professional tutors, and youth council mentors are able to help Malachi catch up on all missed schoolwork at their academic after-school program.

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Malachi all smiles after finishing up some schoolwork.

But once at NAAF’s after-school program, students still need to receive the healthy nutrients they often miss out on for the brain to function at a high level. With the nearest grocery store a two-hour drive away, and the majority of Gu Vo community members making only $358 per month, these youth do not receive three meals a day. Feeding Malachi and his fellow students a nutritious snack and dinner is crucial to getting the brain firing on all cylinders.

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As a result of your donations funding these healthy snacks and dinners, NAAF has seen GPAs skyrocket and zero students involved in the after-school program drop out of school. In addition, teaching these youth about healthy eating is of the utmost importance on a tribal nation where over 70% of adults are living with type 2 diabetes. Finally, for the first time since the inception of NAAF’s after-school program, we are happy to announce that all of their high school students graduated last year!

You can help. Just $5 provides nutritious, wholesome meals to students of NAAF’s academic after-school program. Click here to learn more.

by Jim Kober, January 4, 2017