NERDS was started by Dahkota Franklin Kicking Bear Brown, enrolled member of the Wilton Band of Miwok Indians, in 2011/2012 while in 8th grade. He saw his own family and friends falling behind and withdrawing from school activities as they reached junior high or high school. He also read despairing facts and statistics which prompted action!
Native American’s have the lowest education level and highest drop out rate in the nation, highest teen suicide rate, are the least represented in college, are most likely to suffer a beating/hate crime at the hands of another race and have 514% higher rate of alcohol and drug abuse.
Feeling compelled to do something to change those facts NERDS was born.
With some hard work, dedication, and help from MANY Native youth and adults, NERDS has grown into a Nationally recognized Trademarked Non-profit with numerous clubs functioning & forming under the Executive Board.
Amador County in Northern California is home to NERDS founder and by promoting a positive relationship with the Foothill Indian Education Alliance all students in the public education district can join a NERDS club and run for elected positions at their school! There are currently over 350 Students 6th grade - College that help NERDS positively function! Find out how YOU can get involved today!
NERDS has many students encouraging one another and inspiring other Native students to look to the future by doing their best academically, athletically, with their cultural traditions, and within their community!
Over the past 4 years, NERDS has worked to raise funds allowing them to:
Host their own summer school where students have made up credits and graduated on time with their class.
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.
Support students in need of sporting equipment, school supplies, and offer 2 Scholarships for College bound NERDS!
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 us “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. 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, 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! 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”
Please help the Native students in NERDS reach a brighter future and see that people believe in them because without Your generous donations, we can't provide the services the 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!!