NERDS was founded by Dahkota Franklin Kicking Bear Brown, enrolled member of the Wilton Band of Miwok Indians during his 8th grade year. Dahkota consistently witnessed his own family and friends falling behind in their classes and withdrawing from school activities as they reached middle/high school, prompting him to delve deeper into the situation. His findings made it clear that academic disconnect within Native Youth wasn't a new problem, but it was an important one that desperately needed to be solved. And thus, NERDS was born.
With some hard work, dedication, and help from MANY Native youths and adults, NERDS has grown into a Nationally recognized Trademarked Non-profit with numerous clubs functioning & forming under the Executive Board.
Over the past 4 years, NERDS has worked to raise funds allowing them to: - Host a Summer School program, allowing students to make up credits and graduate on time with their class. - Support students in need of sporting equipment, school supplies, and offer 2 Scholarships for College bound NERDS! - Attend community events working tirelessly to serve elders and help tribal officials with numerous tasks. - Cook frybread and sell Indian Tacos for a profit to help fund their trip to the California State Capitol for Native American Day. - Organize and host the Annual NERDS Youth Gathering with over 160, 7th-12th grade students and 20 informational booths. -Supply their own shirts and snacks for their gatherings.
NERDS is dedicated to improving the despairing statistics affecting youth in Indian Country by raising awareness in both Native and non-Native communities. We aim to succeed through means of positive peer-to-peer mentoring, raising funds for education, cultural support services, scholarship and intern opportunities, along with hosting and attending youth gatherings. 100% of NERDS participants have reported NERDS being a positive influence in their lives. Our programming includes 6th-12th grade study sessions, peer-led talking circles, cultural gatherings, and engagement with positive, sober, and educated role models. A great majority of NERDS students are living with situations that label them “at-risk” and often create obstacles preventing admission to college or being employed. We provide them the opportunity to remain in school, succeed, graduate and assist them in plans for their future. We hope to use NERDS as a “rallying cry” to call attention to the plight of Native youth, while also encouraging Native youth to help fix the problems they see affecting their lives. On the home front in Amador County, we are beginning a mission of engaging local Native youth in sharing their voices. We are promoting healthy lifestyle choices, engaging youth in physical activities, encouraging them to join drama to promote them publically speaking, and working together with other local agencies to ensure their needs are met! This truly helps us live up to the idea we centralize our programming around- “For the youth, by the youth”
After 4 years of growth and invitations to create NERDS groups nationwide, we've decided to shift our focus from growing NERDS to EMPOWERMENT of Natives across North America! Dahkota Brown, along with his brother Dahlton Brown (Stanford '15 MA '16,) have begun working with youth groups across the country to spread the mission of NERDS, while motivating Native youth of all backgrounds to seek leadership opportunities in their community and school settings. While we will continue direct services to the NERDS groups of Amador County, where we call home, we will now focus on using the NERDS name, logo, and mission statement to empower Native youth no matter where they live!
Please help us support the Native youth--without your generous donations, NERDS can't provide the services these children desperately need!
Thank You - Sincerely, Dahkota & Dahlton Brown
NERDS Founder, Dahkota Kicking Bear Brown, was recognized by The Center for Native American Youth and honored by Senator Byron Dorgan by being named to the inaugural class of 2013 Champions for Change. Please visit CNAY.org to learn more about nominating an exceptional Native Youth as a Champion!!