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The Little Nonprofit that Could

Native American Fatherhood and Families Association (NAFFA) came from humble beginnings. Albert Pooley had an idea to help his people. He wanted to strengthen Native American families because he saw the world’s influence and breakdown of fathers and mothers occurring for decades. His development of the 12-week course, Fatherhood is Sacred®, has taught fathers that they had a sacred calling which laid a foundation of a purpose-driven life.

Over the past 17 years, with no help from federal funds, Albert Pooley has written three curricula courses: Fatherhood is Sacred®/Motherhood is Sacred™, Linking Generations by Strengthening Relationships® and Addressing Family Violence and Abuse. NAFFA has expanded their trained facilitators to over 240 tribes teaching fathers and mothers all over the country how to strengthen their own families. They have delivered hundreds of speeches, workshops and forums to spread the word of goodness, self-worth and the five core principles which are: the importance of the Creator, freedom of choice, be teachable, understand wisdom and give service which help parents understand the necessity of truly caring for their children.

They are making a difference in the world. Hundreds of agencies, outreach organizations and now tribal courts are listening and using NAFFA’s curriculum to help rebuild and uplift parents.

From the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe in Fort Hall, Chief Judge Marina Fasthorse says this: “The fatherhood is Sacred® program allows them (fathers) to come back to their culture and identity of who they are. The program has been very beneficial for the people”.

Drop-in class for parents

An anonymous mother from Mesa, AZ says: “I'm so very happy to have attended last evening's Strengthening Relationships class (Linking Generations by Strengthening Relationships®) with all my children. I've been having a difficult time with my oldest boy, and after class, he opened up to me. He said he was happy he came and that he would attend the next classes with me. I'm so very appreciative to the NAFFA program and how much insight and knowledge we obtain for our families. Thank you so much Al Pooley. Quote from my son, "He nailed it right on... everything I was going thru, he gave me an answer." I was near tears to hear my baby talk to me about everything he was going through. To all of you at NAFFA.... Thank you!”

Daniel Quinten Ball a Shoshone-Bannock Sheep Herder in Fort Hall says:

“I came to Fatherhood is Sacred® because I have children out there who need me to be supportive financially but emotionally and spiritually as well. I came here to understand how to think things clearly through.

I want to be a good father and role model. I got a lot of positive things out of the Fatherhood is Sacred® program. I’m learning how to be myself. I am learning to have positive actions as my role as a father, to be a positive father and what my role model is to be a leader, to be responsible and not to be an abusive person. I think that fatherhood and motherhood is a virtue to our tribal people. So many people out there are not educated in common sense. I think our people should be grateful for this program.”

Thoughts from an anonymous father: “I just recently signed up and started attending the Fatherhood is Sacred® program and it already reopened doors to my life. I knew the doors existed by I failed to use the tools I learned earlier in life. I am currently incarcerated and it gave me time to reflect on my life. I grew up without a father. He passed away when I was two. I have no memories or how a dad is supposed to be or act. My mother wasn’t there when she was with her alcoholic, abuse boyfriend. I have only been in the group a few times and I really wished that it was available a couple of years ago when my marriage started to go south. But I’m in a healthier relationship and wake up happy and go to sleep happy. I’m learning to control my anger problem and ask myself what how my actions will affect others. Thank you for your program.”

From family advocate, Becky Bailey from Passamaquoddy Project Launch in Maine says: “The class really made me realize the importance of balance in all relationships with people, our surroundings and Mother Earth. Also the importance of our roles as mothers and fathers and bring responsible parents for our children to become beautiful and responsible human beings.”

NAFFA keeps moving forward, gaining steam and expanding to include more curriculum. Suicide Prevention is being written to be their number four manual and there is now a parent resource center up and running to help any local Mesa parents.

As NAFFA founder Albert Pooley says: ..“a humble person recognizes and acknowledges that their talents, abilities, and strengths are gifts from the Creator. People who are grateful and humble do not look for power, status, fame or fortune but rather move through life doing what is truly important: helping, caring and teaching others.” We are truly grateful for those humble beginnings and the impact the Native American Fatherhood and Families Association has had on strengthening families.

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