Bates Collision Centers announced that it will be gifting refurbished vehicles to two needy single mothers who are part of the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) Head Start program.
In its 20th year, HCDE Head Start’s partnership with Bates Collision Centers is giving away car nos. 35 and 36 to Sheena Gulley and Parishellia Banks, who will be recognized with the Responsible Parenting Award. Bates Collision Owners Lee and Leila Bates have made this annual giveaway a priority because they recognize the sacrifices parents often make in order to provide for their children.
Banks and Gulley were nominated by Head Start Center managers. Bates employees donated time to work on the cars and helped fill them with gifts, and other community members and businesses donated gas, insurance and materials needed to rehab the cars.
Gulley is a single mother of two sons, Marcus, 13, and Jay’Me, 2, and two daughters Zyriah, 8, and Myriah, 4. She previously relied on Metro and Uber to get to and from work. Before receiving the car, she was unable to spend much time with her children or attend their school activities because of no transportation and her work schedule. She will soon begin taking online GED classes with HCDE, which are free and offer flexible learning opportunities for busy adults.
Banks is currently raising her niece’s two-year-old son, Jayce, after she passed away during childbirth. She relies on family and friends to take her and her great nephew to work and school. She also suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure and found it difficult to make doctor appointments prior to receiving her car because she had no transportation.
Leila Bates, co-owner of Bates Collision Centers, says both she and her husband Lee are proud of their employees who continue to supply time and resources to families they have yet to meet.
“Wow, it’s hard to believe that our tradition of gifting transportation to hardworking, deserving families in need is 20 years old,” said Lee Bates. “Even though this program is all about giving to others, there’s no doubt that we are the ones that receive the biggest gift, the gift of helping others.”
Added Leila Bates, “It’s our favorite day of the year, when we get to see the smiles on the families’ faces as they tear off the bright red wrapping paper to find their shiny ‘new’ car inside. It’s especially fun to hear the giggles of the kiddos as they open the trunk to find it loaded with gifts with their names on them. It’s a 20-year-old Christmas tradition that gets all of our staff involved in the spirit of giving.”
“Generous community members like the Bates, their employees and supporters set the bar for community service,” said James Colbert Jr., superintendent of HCDE. “These cars transform families, and we are thankful for 20 years of commitment and giving from the Bates.”