After what the chairman of the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County described as “two years of planning,” the club’s newest site was officially opened and dedicated Monday.
Located at First United Methodist Church, the site will be open after school three days a week, Scott Robinson, chairman of the board said after a ribbon was cut to officially open the facility.
“This has been a long time coming but this church has supported us,” Robinson said.
The Rev. David Fleming, senior pastor of First United Methodist, described his congregation as “the most mission-minded group I’ve ever met.”
He said that shortly after assuming his duties, he met with Jack Hollingsworth and Debe Hollingsworth, now the mayor of Pine Bluff, who wanted to talk about mission projects, including “in our back yard.”
Fleming said the decision was made to start an after-school program for children.
“We had the facilities and we had the financing,” Fleming said. “What we didn’t have was the how to do it.”
The church got together with Leslie Peters, chief professional officer of the Boys and Girls Club who had the knowledge, and the church and Peters worked together to make it happen.
Fleming said Linda Watson, superintendent of the Pine Bluff School District, agreed to provide the students, 50 of them from Greenville and Oak Park Elementary, the teachers, and transportation to the church.
“The teachers needed to be paid so we made arrangements for them to be paid by the boys and girls club, with money the church gave them,” Fleming said.
He said Simmons First National Bank turned down a request to give the church their old computers, instead providing new computers for the site, which is open Monday, Thursday and Friday after school.
Peters described his work as “not easy but necessary.
“It’s not about me, and it’s not about you, it’s about us,” he said. “If we all do a little bit, we can move mountains.”
“We can make Pine Bluff better,” Robinson said. “There should be no excuses not to make it better, and it starts with the kids.”