Bouldin struggles with transportation on many fronts. Her two boys attend school and must be on time. She needs rides to work. Doctors’ appointments are planned well in advance and sometimes must be canceled. Recreation trips to places like the park or pizza parlor are sheer luxury.
In its 21st year, Bates Collision Centers’ “Responsible Parenting Award” continues to award keys to brighter futures with restored vehicles. Car number 37 is reconditioned and ready for the Bouldin family as Jessica earns the award.
“When you’re car-less in greater Houston, transportation issues are overwhelming,” said HCDE Superintendent James Colbert Jr. “The city spans a 60-mile radius, and public transportation can test your flexibility.”
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. “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.”
Bouldin, 31, 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 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.
HCDE Head Start Senior Director Venetia Peacock knows that the Bouldin family desperately needs the car to reach its goals. Bouldin wants to further her career by attending college. She would like to volunteer at her sons’ schools, including the northside Fonwood Head Start Center where Jyrie attends.
“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.”
HCDE Head Start and Early Head Start are no-cost, federally funded programs that prepare children from 6 weeks to 5 years old for success in school. Programs support and promote parent participation in order to build stronger families. Low-income families or families of children with special needs benefit from services. HCDE Head Start serves families residing in east Harris County, providing 15 area centers for 1,250 children and their families. For more information, go to www.hcde-texas.org/Head-Start