Friday, 17 December 2021 16:32

New Cars for Texas Head Start Families Make for a Memorable Holiday

Alionuska Montalvo Perez hugs Bates Collision Center co-owner Leila Bates. Alionuska Montalvo Perez hugs Bates Collision Center co-owner Leila Bates.


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Two wishes for wheels came true as Bates Collision Centers and Harris County (TX) Department of Education’s Head Start division presented two special moms with rehabbed vehicles filled with presents as part of their annual Responsible Parenting Award.

In its 23rd year, Bates Collision Centers presented cars No. 41 and 42 to Destini Rhodes, a teaching assistant at Sheffield Head Start, and Alionuska Montalvo Perez, a Pugh Head Start mom. Both were nominated by Head Start staff.

Twenty-eight-year-old Rhodes is a full-time employee and student at San Jacinto College pursuing an associate’s degree in early childhood education. She currently relies on a borrowed vehicle to shuttle her kids and herself to and from school and work. After unwrapping her new vehicle, a 2011 Chevy Equinox, she expressed disbelief over the generous gift.

“I feel very grateful,” said Rhodes, a single mother of three children. “I’ve never been given anything in my life before. I’ve always had to work for everything. I can’t even believe that I’m being recognized for being a good parent. It’s something that you just do because you’re a parent.”

Throughout the year, the Bateses search for salvaged or donated vehicles that can be fixed up and given to deserving parents during the holiday season. Bates employees donate their time and skills to work on the cars and help fill them with gifts. Other community members and businesses donate gas, insurance and materials needed to rehab the cars. 

Shop owners Lee and Leila Bates have made this annual giveaway a priority because...

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