PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) -- The city of Pine Bluff is celebrating a major accomplishment today with the grand opening of a new youth center.
They hope it will stop crime before it ever happens and want to give children more positive activities to do during the summer and beyond.
“The purpose of this center is to provide opportunities and activities for children, particularly during out of school time,” said Pastor Derick Easter at New St. Hurricane Baptist Church.
The Children and Youth Faith Center in Pine Bluff is officially open, it’s a celebration for all!
“Now more kids in the community have an opportunity to have fun by doing positive things,” Raven Franklin said.
She’s one of many kids the center will benefit. Easter told us it's a dream come true.
New youth center opens in Pine Bluff
“The feedback we’ve received today has been overwhelming,” he said.
"I was excited to see the basketball court, it looks nice,” said Trenton Harris, another kid who attends New St. Hurricane Baptist Church.
The new youth center has it all. A computer room, multiple game rooms, and opportunities for endless growth and learning. Kids in the community are excited to finally have a safe space to call their own.
“We can come here after school and study. We can come play basketball. My friends and I won't have to go all the way to White Hall anymore,” Harris said with a smile.
Community events now have a local venue. Easter hopes this is just the beginning.
“Just engaging, mentoring, and doing something positive to make an impact in the lives of children and families will make a change in the community. I do hope people follow suit,” said Easter.
The church will expand services like their literacy and grade-level reading program, sports ministries, and Google programming initiatives.
“I’m really excited about the computer room because it’s hard going to the library all the time for a computer. We can just come here. It great that it's here at the church and more convenient for others too,” Franklin said.
The center also hopes to help area kids build work force habits and skills they can use in future careers.