Thursday morning in North Houston, some area teens saw their local hangout get a major upgrade.
Volunteers from the Houston Texans came to the NFL YET Driver Park Boys & Girls Club and spruced up the teen room. The changes included the addition of a new flatscreen HD television, a Wii fit gaming system, new couches and lounge chairs, team-themed decorations for the walls and the painting of a mural on the back wall.
"Wow," Branch Director Tiffany Burks said as the decorating was in full swing. "Today we're actually turning our teen center into what we are calling the 'Houston Texans Fan Zone'. It's going to go from a functional, programmatic area to a more interactive, fun physical zone of education and knowledge-based learning."
About a dozen volunteers spent approximately four hours working in the room, transforming the area into a dynamically-designed, Texans-heavy space. Along the way, the mural-painters were aided by the original artist himself, Mark Lopez.
"It's big," Lopez said while he and the volunteers painted the mural. "I didn't even actually think it was going to happen. I didn't think I was going to get picked."
Lopez was the winner of the mural-design contest, beating out a handful of other young artists who spend time on a regular basis at the YET Center. He'll soon be a freshman at Aldine's MacArthur High School, with a great 'What I did on my summer vacation story' to share this autumn.
"The Texans are awesome. I've never drawn something this big before. The biggest thing I'd done before this was two feet wide," Lopez said of the mural.
Burks was proud of Lopez's vision coming to life in the form of the mural, and hopes it can spur him on to bigger and better things in his future.
"It's really exciting for us, but it's more exciting for him because it's helping us bring out a lot of his interests and his creativity. It will really let this young man know how intelligent and how impactful his artwork is to others."