The historic moment will be celebrated in person, outside the Bates Collison Center, 3219 N. Main St. in Baytown, on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. Dad John Rose and daughter Journee join owners Lee and Leila Bates, their staff and community to unwrap the mystery vehicle filled with gifts and equipped with insurance for six months.
The 22nd Annual Bates Responsible Parenting Awards provides “helping out with a hand up” as the Bates and their staff spend months rehabbing a collision vehicle and gifts it to a deserving parent.
The 32-year-old father works as a truck driver for Amazon. He says he has turned his life around after getting into trouble in his younger years. Daughter Journee, 4, attends the HCDE Head Start at Fifth Ward. Her dad also volunteers at the center through a leadership group called the Policy Council.
“This car is going to change my life because I won’t have to take the bus anymore,” John said. “I will be able to take my daughter to school every morning. It’s important to be in my child’s education.”
The Bates make the annual giveaway a priority because they recognize the sacrifices parents often make in order to provide for their children.
Journee is a precocious, bright child with a big vocabulary. She is enthusiastic about learning sight words and is enamored with her father. She will be presented with her own ride, a bike with training wheels.
“Most kids just want to play in school, but Journee wants to go to school to learn,” her dad said.
Co-owner Lee Bates was immediately impressed by John’s application which was submitted by the center manager. John wrote an essay about his life as part of the application process.
“He owned his mistakes in his life and wants to be a good father for his daughter,” Lee said.
Bates co-owner Leila 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.
“Putting cars back on the road is part of our daily grind, but this is putting families back on the road,” she said. “We have a giving staff, and this project brings our entire team together.”
Leila sees the difference the project makes, from the Bates employees to the families receiving the cars.
Car no. 39 will be equally as special for all parties concerned.
“Seeing our team’s faces light up is a gift for us,” she said. “The gift of transportation is a game changer.”
Head Start Senior Director Venetia Peacock said she is excited to kick off the holiday season with this event.
“The generosity of the Bates family and their staff fills our hearts with joy each year,” she said. “This program embodies our goal at HCDE Head Start to build school readiness and success with our families.”
HCDE Head Start serves families of children ages six weeks to age 5 with 14 Head Start centers located in north to northeast Harris County. Income-eligible families and children with disabilities gain free Head Start services to help equip children with academic and social skills for school readiness. Families receive support services in the school readiness program through community partners.
For more information about Head Start, visit www.hcde-texas.org/Head-Start.