The city of Pine Bluff is recruiting students from Jack Robey Junior High School and Robert F. Morehead Middle School for the Youth Engagement in Sports (YES) Program. Prior to COVID-19, students met in sessions. Currently, plans are to meet virtually, according to a news release.


In October 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health awarded the city of Pine Bluff $800,000 from the Youth Engagement in Sports (YES) grant. This is a two-year grant, with $400,000 awarded each year.


Jack Robey and Morehead schools were selected as the inaugural participants as the funding is specifically for students in the 6th-8th grades. The goal is to enroll 150 students from each school and the program is free to attend, according to Deaquanita Lancelin, program monitor for the YES grant.


Before the coronavirus pandemic, the program was in session on Mondays from 4-6 p.m. for Morehead school and on Tuesday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. for Jack Robey. Students will continue to meet during these meeting times via Zoom.


Sessions will include weekly exercise classes, nutritional sessions and fruits and vegetables that are delivered to the students’ homes. This keeps the program in full rotation during the current pandemic. The Pine Bluff and Dollarway school districts are working with the city to provide these services to students, according to the news release.


Before the pandemic, students also had access to the new aquatics center where they were paired with a certified swim instructor. Students also participated in activities such as basketball, dodgeball and yoga.


Recruitment is ongoing for the YES program. Applications are available at www.cityofpinebluff.com under the City Information tab. Details: Deaquanita R. Lancelin at dlancelin@cityofpinebluff.com.