LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- In the midst of violence in Central Arkansas, four pastors are hoping for a more peaceful future by reaching young people now.
That's why they’re investing millions to give kids a safe place to go.
“With all the things taking place in Little Rock, Pine Bluff, we need facilities like this, programming like this, that give people an avenue to better their lives,” said Pastor Derick Easter with New St. Hurricane Baptist Church in Pine Bluff.
Three new youth centers opened within the past two months at New Hope Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Saint Hurricane Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, and Longley Baptist Church in Southwest Little Rock. One year earlier, St. Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock opened a youth center.
“Other than the Southwest Little Rock Community Center there was no place they could go to do something of this caliber," said Pastor Dwight Townsend with Longley Baptist Church.
"We want to reach thousands, but we'll start off with dozens to hundreds, but we want to reach thousands," said Pastor George Parks Jr. with New Hope Baptist Church.
All four centers were an investment of more than $16 million, but these pastors will tell you no price tag can be placed on the bright futures that can be formed. These pastors want to make after school and summer programs a top priority to give kids a place to go outside of school.