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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) — An uncle and nephew are investing in their Texarkana community by turning a neglected church building into a haven for the community’s children.

The Texarkana, Arkansas Planning Commission on Monday approved a conditional use permit allowing Brandon Johnson and his uncle Phillip Wilson to convert a former church into a community center. The center, located in the 2600 block of Walter Street, will be a place to help young people become responsible and effective citizens through mentoring and tutoring services.

“I grew up in this community and my mom lived on East Ninth St., and you know we had to play the cards that were dealt to us,” Wilson said.

Wilson and Johnson are self-funding the project and hope to begin operations within the next month. They say the center will offer tutoring three days a week, and they also plan to recruit community volunteers to participate in a career day once a month to expose students to a variety of career options.

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“A lot of people I met taught me things that worked with me because I had a little turmoil in my life as a kid growing up, but I was able to become a businessman. very prosperous.”

Wilson says his personal success is why he is so determined to go above and beyond to give back to his community.