David Warmack’s passion for philanthropy and education began as a young student at Tucson Hebrew Academy. As a young child, he enjoyed visiting his mother’s childhood home in the village of Gu Vo on the Tohono O’odham Reservation and learning about his heritage from his grandmother in her native language. Upon realization that the children in his village had access to very few books, David was inspired to develop a way to share his love of learning with his community. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with David, here he tells us more about how the Native American Advancement Foundation was created.
As a young man, your dedication to philanthropy and education is inspiring. As founder of the Native American Advancement Foundation (NAAF), what inspired you to create the organization?
David: When I was attending Tucson Hebrew Academy (THA), I was regularly being taught about making the world a better place. During this time, my family and I learned I was Dyslexic—around the 1st grade. This discovery made reading very important to me and helped me realize that the ability to read is the stepping-stone for life.
A few years later, I was told that there were no libraries on the reservation; this fact made me upset since at that time I was reading every book I could get my hands on to try to strengthen my reading. I went to my mom and told her that I wanted to start a library on the reservation. My mom told me that many people could not read on the reservation. This fact caused me to want to teach them to read. I went to my mom and once again she was quick to tell me there was no way an 8-year-old would be able to help teach people on the reservation to read. By that time I was in 3rd grade. I went to my mom one last time to tell her my idea of creating a small place to help teach people to read and asked her, “if not now, when? If not us, who?” This lead to the final formation of NAAF and the multiple academic programs we offer.
What are some of your favorite things about the Gu Vo district and the Tohono O’odham Nation?
David: Some of my favorite things about the Gu Vo District are how everyone is so nice, and everyone is more than happy to help you when you need it.
Tell us a little about your studies. What is your favorite subject?
David: My favorite classes are Math, Science, History, and Foundations of Photography.
How do you spend your free time?
David: I spend my free time in a variety of ways from reading to watching history documentaries. I also like to play Kerbal Space Program.
NAAF wouldn’t exist without your persistence. What’s your secret?
David: My secret is having loving parents who are always there to support me.