New Youth Development Center Opens in Greater Fifth Ward

Photo Credit G. Lyon Photography

HOUSTON – PlanNorth Architectural Co. announces the official opening of the Youth Development Center (YDC)’s new building in the Greater Fifth Ward.

“We are pleased to announce the opening of the Youth Development Center’s new campus as a place for the city’s children to be nurtured academically while creating a safe and creative space,”
says Katie Burch, founding partner and principal architect of PlanNorth Architectural Co., which designed the center. “From cutting-edge technology to the building structure itself, every aspect of the new YDC was created to reflect its mission to ‘Inspire, equip and guide urban youth to live,’” she says.

The project was completed with the assistance of Houston-based CJG Engineers and Lee Truong & Yu Engineers and Brenham, Texas’ Citizens State Bank, Collier Construction and Civil Engineer of Record Darren Huckert.

All YDC founders, including board members Patrice McKinney, Flo Mata and Harvey Davis Sr. and former board member Charlie Middlebrook, attended the grand opening Oct. 3. Former Houston Texans offensive lineman Wade Smith also attended the event.

The non-profit organization provides intensive after school academic intervention programs for at-risk students in grades 1-6 and is licensed through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The YDC operated its programs in a local church nearby until it moved into the new building location.

The state-of-the-art 22,000 square foot building has three technology-based learning labs, two homework study halls, counseling rooms, a library, covered bus entry, enclosed playground and more to ensure every aspect of a child’s needs are met including:

Security needs. In addition to state-of-the-art security cameras and lock-down systems, the building itself introduces a new prototype to safety design with a forward-thinking, “inside-out” space flow. Deliveries, such as packages from food trucks typically unloaded behind a building, are unloaded at the front for visibility and transparency. Children are escorted in and out of the back within the highest security perimeter ring.

Physical needs. Children eat a family-style meal prior to starting classes. Natural light floods in from the ceiling to encourage well being and cognition, and high-efficiency equipment promises the best in indoor air quality.
Educational needs. Architectural elements encourage individual learning styles. The early childhood area features three centers per classroom for group study, technology-influenced learning and independent study. The math and reading labs offer integrated computer software for multi-level learning.

Creative needs. Bright, cheerful colors and an interchangeable art gallery serve to encourage play and learning. Each space in the building its own “identity.” The administrative area is the “protective arm” because it provides safety and security with conference rooms and a welcoming, controlled entry point. The library and dining hall are the “haven” because they personify socialization and emotional development.

ABOUT: PlanNorth Architectural Co. ( is located Brenham, Texas, and was founded in 2010. It has developed sites for Coldwell Banker, Hyundai and more. The firm has been featured in local to national publications including Grit Daily and HR Dive, part of Industry Dive, one of the fastest-growing media companies in the U.S. reaching more than 3 million business leaders monthly.

The Youth Development Center has provided free after-school programs and summer enrichment opportunities to elementary-aged children in the Greater Fifth Ward for the past 13 years, and its mission is to “Inspire, Equip and Guide Urban Youth to LIVE!”

CONTACT: For more information and comments from PlanNorth, contact Lisa Griffin, president, Griffin Media Management at or 202-627-9109.

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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