Build-A-Bike for foster kids

We got to witness a fun and special partnership between Child Advocates and Stewart Title in Houston. They're building bikes for foster children to enjoy a magical Christmas.

They lined up the tables of bike parts at Stewart Title in the Galleria area and then went to work!

"250 employees at the Stewart building are taking time out to build 300 bikes, so we have thirty teams from different departments in the company, and they're hard at work right now. Some from our IT Department brought their power tools, while others are struggling, so quality control will be important. A bike is one, that if you have had that experience, is a memorable one! Obviously, a lot of kids wouldn't have that experience otherwise and hope that this changes their Christmas Day," smiles Matt Morris, the CEO of Stewart Title.

Rick Burnett with Burnett Specialists came up with this bike-building idea.  He serves on the board of Child Advocates.

"We have Santa's Workshop.  We take all the toys there for kids and one year we were short on bikes. Stewart was one of my clients, and they were looking for a team-building idea, so we presented the idea and they just built on it! We do this once a year and this is the fifth year doing it.  The impact is incredible! You think about every child that's going to get a bike like this for Child Advocates, it's special," says Rick.

Ann Manal with Stewart Title says it's a great experience for her colleagues and the children.

"It's great - a team-building exercise, great to see it all come together because if I was at home doing this, it would be hours! Christmas is going to be a breeze this year," laughs one of her enthusiastic team members.

Joshua Tovar sure enjoyed being part of such a meaningful event.

"Our group [at Stewart Title] is close to begin with, but doing this outside of the office is definitely a change of pace, so I really liked it," exclaims Joshua.

Everyone seemed to have a great time!  

Again, all of the bikes will go to foster children.

Child Advocates is made up of hundreds of volunteers, who are teamed-up with children in the CPS system. So volunteers hand-pick the perfect bike for each child.

The volunteers with Child Advocates work year-round to help better the lives of children who are in a tough place in life.

"Once a child has been pulled from their home and are in CPS, they'll assign a court-appointed advocate, which is a volunteer. We have more than 800 volunteers. Last year, we served over 2,200 kids in Houston, so the volunteer becomes the eyes and ears and voice of that child, as they go through that process. It's usually a 12-18 month cycle, but it's the consistent thing that child has. They usually move from foster home to foster home, so the court-appointed advocate looks out for that child. They make recommendations for that child, and we're there for the kids one-on-one," explains Rick.

He says Child Advocates can always use more volunteers and donations.

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