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Navajo Boys and Girls Club reopens 4-27-07

SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) - The Shiprock Boys and Girls Club has opened its doors after being closed for about two years.

Dozens of people, including Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., attended Thursday's grand opening ceremony.

“Children need a place to go after school,” Shirley said. “We're doing everything we can to meet some needs. Sometimes we come up short, but we're doing everything we can.”

All 14 Boys and Girls' Clubs across the Navajo reservation were closed in 2004 amid allegations that Boys and Girls Club of Navajo Inc. mismanaged federal dollars.

The nonprofit organization's charter was revoked and the Navajo Nation leadership took over in 2005. The tribe received its own charter from the Boys and Girls Club of America under the Navajo Nation Department of Youth.

Marlene Morgan, a Head Start representative and substitute teacher, said didn't know what to do when the club closed. She said the children were without a place to play.

“I really, really appreciate them doing this,” she said as her granddaughter played at the club.

Marilynn King-Johnson, leader of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Dine Nation, echoed Morgan when she expressed the importance of having a safe place for kids.

“We will be here for those parents and the grandparents. This will be a safe place for children to come,” she said, calling on parents and other community members to volunteer and be a part of their children's lives.
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