Students at Belair Academy are going on a fishing trip to Martin Luther King Jr. Park Thursday, April 26. The event is sponsored by community partners, according to a news release.

“Belair Academy is the alternative learning environment for the Pine Bluff School District and has been using the PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) program for four years to provide incentives for students who meet their behavior goals,” according to a news release.

Last year, a group called the MEN of PINE BLUFF, led by Pine Bluff native Nathaniel Baker, reached out to the school to see what ways the young people needed support.

“Because of recent violence involving youth in Pine Bluff, the group of young black male professionals wanted to show the students that they believed in the students’ potential and that they would help them reach their goals for the future,” according to the release.

The MEN of PINE BLUFF have sponsored a kickball tournament between the students and law enforcement officers, a health fair for students and their families, and monthly field trips in the Spring 2018 semester for students who meet their behavior goals.

On April 26, the students will begin the trip by visiting the Delta Rivers Nature Center, which is providing the rods and reels for the fishing trip. Students will also tour the nature center and learn about nature in Southeast Arkansas, according to the release.

Students will also visit The Tackle Box Sporting Goods shop, where owners John and Teresa Ashcraft will show the students the store and how they grow bait. The Ashcrafts will also provide bait for all of the students for their fishing experience, according to the release.

“I think it’s a great thing what they’re doing for the kids,” John Ashcraft said when asked why they chose to support the program. “I hope more businesses will jump on board to support and encourage the kids at the alternative school.”

The trip will conclude at Martin Luther King Park, where Belair Academy Director Eric Elders, an avid fisherman, will teach the students how to fish.

Lunch will also be provided by the MEN of PINE BLUFF.

“The school could not be more grateful for the support from the MEN of PINE BLUFF, The Tackle Box Sporting Goods, and the Delta Rivers Nature Center,” a district spokesman said.

To volunteer or for details, contact Adrian Dhanaraj, social skills educator at Belair Academy, at or 870-543-4417.