The Buckner Family Hope Center, which provides social services to East Aldine families, will move later this year to a new, larger facility.

Buckner, which took over the Aldine Youth Center at 4700 Aldine Mail Route Road in 2012, will be just 6.5 miles away – at 8600 Sweetwater Lane.

“We may be changing locations, but we’re not leaving the community,” said Buckner Executive Director Dior Burns. “We are very much invested here.”

The new, 6.8-acre property, a former charter school, includes 37,000 square feet of space for services to children and families. There is also a gymnasium at the new facility.

The Buckner Family Hope Center needed a more modern facility than its current 30-year-old buildings, which are located on a narrow tract of land. The move will allow Buckner to expand its programs to families in need, Burns said.

“We have done our best to make this work, but really the desire has been for us to expand our programs here in Houston,” Burns said.

The new center “is strategically located” on Metro’s 89 Bus Route, Burns said.

“And, of course, we do plan to do strategic community outreach to all of the families we now serve.”

“The spacious location offers us a future of growth and the ability to expand our programs in Houston, thus shining hope to even more Houston children and families,” Burns said.

The move is planned for late summer or early fall.

The Aldine Youth Center was founded by Sylvia Bolling in 1990.

Since taking over the Aldine Youth Center in 2012, Buckner Family Hope Center has helped East Aldine families and children through several major challenges: the impact of Hurricane Harvey, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the major ice storm in 2020.

In late February, Harris County Public Health administered COVID vaccines at Buckner.

“We’ve seen a lot, and we have survived it all,” Burns said. “We’ve learned many lessons, but we’re still here.”

The center is dedicated to serving “at risk populations,” Burns said:  “That can mean serving at-risk youth in single-family households; it can be in economically challenged neighborhoods, it can be the elderly population. We’ve got services available, with our focus being on serving the whole family.”

Even though Buckner Family Hope is moving just to the edge of the East Aldine Management District, Burns said the staff hopes to maintain close ties with the non-profit BakerRipley, which operates a branch at the East Aldine Town Center.

“We work collaboratively, so we try to refer people to each other,” Burns said.  “We are not in competition; we are here to serve the community. And the more we can serve, the better.”

Buckner plans to launch a capital campaign to further expand its program at the new property.

“We are also looking at the potential to have all our core programs operating on the campus, including building new residences for single-parent families participating in Buckner Family Pathways®. The acquisition does not affect our programs at the Cornerstone Campus in South Houston,” Burns said.

In addition to its two centers in Houston, Buckner Family Hope Centers operate in Dallas, Longview, Midland, Penitas and Donna, Texas. There are also Buckner Hope Centers in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

— by Anne Marie Kilday