Aaron Secakuku is a Hopi elder and serves as Director for Pathways, a program for Flagstaff area Native American children and teens. Pathways is an outreach of NACA (Native Americans for Community Action). Aaron is someone who understands both the Native American world, having grown up on the reservation, and the “white” world, as a graduate of Northern Arizona University and current resident of Flagstaff. His desire is to encourage the kids to do well in school and take advantage of opportunities for growth, while also coming to understand and embrace their Native American heritage. As kids who live in and around the city, they are not accepted by kids on the reservation as one of them. At the same time, they don’t exactly mesh with the white kids in school either – so they find themselves with a bit of an identity crisis.
Enter Pathways. Aaron’s program offers after-school and weekend activities that promote self-esteem, educational enrichment, physical fitness, traditional practices and cultural values to children in grades K through 6. The program is free of charge to eligible youth and their families, and transportation to and from some Pathways activities is provided now, thanks to their new 15-passenger van that the Coleman Charitable Foundation helped purchase for them. We pledged up to 50% in a matching funds campaign and Aaron raised the rest, so now Pathways is thrilled to have what they need to help kids this school year.