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Courtesy photoNavajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., and First Lady Vikki Shirley accept a check for $2.6 million from First Things First Chairwoman Nadine Mathis Basha (in red) March 3 at the Karigan Child Care Center in St. Michaels. Over the next 10 years, it is hoped that the Navajo Nation will receive $26 million from the voter-approved program — if the Arizona Legislature does not decide to take the funding to meet the state’s budget shortfall. From left to right are Navajo Nation Board of Education member Tim Bitsilly, Bessie Allen, Dr. Paula Curley, Council Delegates Andy Ayze and Larry Anderson, President Shirley, Mrs. Shirley, Mrs. Basha, Spencer Willie, Dorothy Yazzie, Paula Seanez, and Dolly C. Begay. In back (at left) is First Things First Executive Director Elliot Hibbs.

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'First Things First' check for $2.6 million presented to Navajo children

ST. MICHAELS, Ariz. - Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. and First Lady Vikki Shirley received a total of $3.1 million from the new Arizona non-profit program "First Things First" to develop culturally relevant early child care and education programs for children aged newborn to five years old.