HOUSTON – Some of the everyday chores that many of us take for granted as we jump in our cars to go from place to place were a challenge for Jessica Bouldin, a single mother without a vehicle.
It has been a struggle each day, dropping her two sons off to school on time, making it to work and then throw in the occasional doctor’s appointments or desired drive on the weekends to entertain the kids.
Well things became a little easier for Bouldin, 31, on Tuesday when the Harris County Department of Education Head Start Parent was gifted a rehabbed car as part of the Bates Collision Centers’ annual “Responsible Parenting Award.” Bouldin received car No. 37, which was reconditioned and ready to go.
“When you’re carless 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.”
Bouldin was nominated by the manager of the Head Start Center where her son attends school. She also wrote an essay that was selected from among a group of applicants.
Bates owners Lee and Leila Bates say they have made the annual car giveaway a priority because of the sacrifices parents make in order to provide for their children.
Bates Collision Centers employees volunteer their time to work on the cars and then help to fill them with gifts, while members of the community and businesses donate gas, insurance and other necessities to rehab the cars.
“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.”