Holcombs donate to city youth jobs program

Pine Bluff’s summer youth employment program is $400 richer, thanks to a donation made by the family of former Alderwoman Irene Holcomb.

Joined by her son and council successor, Alderman Lloyd A. Holcomb Jr., Irene Holcomb presented the contribution to Mayor Debe Hollingsworth in a brief ceremony at Monday night’s city council meeting.

Irene Holcomb said the gift was her family’s way of saluting city Human Resources Director Vickie Conaway, who coordinates the summer work program.

“Vickie has worked so hard to make this program second to none in the nation,” Holcomb said.

Conaway also participated in the presentation.

A retired teacher, Holcomb drew laughter from the audience when she initiated the presentation by saying, “I didn’t come tonight to pontificate, neither to exaggerate or even help you legislate, but I came to donate.”

She also encouraged others to held support the effort by sending checks payable to the city and marked for the program.

“You can mail them to city hall at 200 E. Eighth Ave.,” she said.

Holcomb said anyone can help support their community.

“You don’t have to be a Rockefeller, have a six-figure income or a Ph.D. to participate in philanthropy,” she said. “And you can give any amount — $5, $10 $20 or whatever. Just give.”

Holcomb said that while with the council, she twice gave 10 percent of her annual salary to help the program.

“We realize that each person has a charity of choice,” she said, “but we’re asking that people adopt the summer youth jobs program so they can help a young person have employment. Let’s help to put our youth to work for the future of Pine Bluff.”