Bates Collision Centers of the Bay Area of Texas recently gifted a refurbished vehicle to a single parent who had been struggling with transportation for her family as part of their “Responsible Parenting Award” program. In its 21st year, the program awards keys to brighter futures with restored vehicles.
Jessica Bouldin, 31, who is part of the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) Head Start program, is a single parent who had been juggling three schedules without a car. Her two boys attend school and must be on time. She needed rides to work. Doctors’ appointments had to be planned well in advance and sometimes had to be canceled. Recreation trips to places like the park or pizza parlor were sheer luxury.
“When you’re car-less in greater Houston, transportation issues are overwhelming,” said James Colbert Jr., superintendent of the HCDE. “The city spans a 60-mile radius, and public transportation can test your flexibility.”
Bouldin was nominated for the award by the manager at the Head Start Center where her 3-year-old son, Jyrie, attends. In addition, she wrote an essay which was selected from a group of nominees.
Bates owners Lee and Leila Bates have made the annual giveaway a priority because they recognize the sacrifices parents make in order to provide for their children.
“We’re giving a helping hand up for responsible parents with a drive to succeed,” said Leila Bates, vice president of Bates. “Responsible parenting is so important, and it’s a big job in every family. But it becomes even harder when all the pieces aren’t in place, like transportation.”
Bates employees donate time to work on the cars and help fill them with gifts, and other community members and businesses donate gas, insurance and materials needed to rehab the cars.
Lee Bates says both he and Leila are proud of their employees who continue to supply time and resources to families they have yet to meet. The Bates call the work their employees do “a labor of love” as they prepare the car inside and out to look like new.
Venetia Peacock, senior director of HCDE Head Start, knew that the Bouldin family desperately needed the car to reach its goals. Bouldin wants to further her career by attending college. She would also like to volunteer at her sons’ schools.
“We continue to be thankful for our partnership with Bates Collision Centers,” said Peacock. “These cars make a difference in the lives of families who are already committed to making the world a better place for their children.”
To view a video of the gifting ceremony, click here.