Students from the community service group What’s Next Pine Bluff joined church members and area residents Saturday to work on several projects at different locations around the city.

Students from the community service group What’s Next Pine Bluff joined church members and area residents Saturday to work on several projects at different locations around the city.


"We think kids growing up in Pine Bluff should have the same opportunities as students anywhere in the country," Steven Bronskill, operations director of What’s Next Pine Bluff said. "That means helping to build up their resumes for college admissions and a part of that is community service."


Among the projects the groups worked on were making cards and prayer beads that will go to a nursing home, painting a room at First Presbyterian Church, working at the new Indiana Street Neighborhood Park and at the community gardens across the street from First United Methodist Church.


"This is an opportunity to give back to the community and to come together in fellowship," the Rev. Susan Wiggins of First Presbyterian Church said as she and others worked on the prayer beads inside the church Saturday morning.


Students from other parts of the state joined those from Pine Bluff in the day of service, including several that were involved in the Quad W internship program at First United Methodist Church.


The day started early for P.J. Jackson from Hamburg, Spencer Branch from Star City and Tyler Rushing from Vilonia, who were working at the community gardens, spreading dirt and getting the boxes ready for more planting.


"I heard about this program that First United Methodist was doing that helps the kids and the community so I signed up, Rushing said.


The three and others have been spending their days working at the Boys and Girls Club facility at the church.


"Students designed, built and are maintaining these gardens," Bronskill said. "We’ve actually sold some of the produce at the Farmer’s Market."


One of the Pine Bluff students, Raymond Wallace, a senior-to-be at Pine Bluff High School, said he was looking for something new to do last summer when he got involved with What’s Next Pine Bluff. He was in on the initial planning for the Indiana Street Community Park.


As for the future, Wallace said he had planed to try and go to college in state, but after a recent trip to Tulsa, he is considering going to school there.


"They’ve got a computer gaming program that I am really interested in," Wallace said.


In addition to First Presbyterian and First United Methodist, Grace Episcopal Church also participated in the activities.