Month: June 2016

Jun 6

Charity Navigator Recognizes School on Wheels

On June 2nd Charity Navigator implemented a new rating system, called CN 2.1, and we are pleased to inform you that under the enhanced financial methodology, School on Wheels, Inc., has retained its 4-star rating!  With our commitment to accountability and transparency, we are thrilled to be one of only 25% of nonprofits in US with this 4-star rating!  

Charity Navigator highlights the fine work of efficient, ethical, and open charities. Charity Navigator is the gold standard in providing donors with essential information needed to give them greater confidence in the charitable choices they make.  You can read our in depth report on their website here –

Catherine Meek, Executive Director of School on Wheels,  stated, “We are honored to be given this important acknowledgement of our effectiveness and the care we take of our donor’s contributions.”

Jun 1

Students of the Month – June 2016

Skid Row Learning Center

Zah’majai, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Zah’majai, 5th Grade. When I first read Zah’majai’s name, I thought about how difficult it was going to be to remember this student’s name. There appeared to be too many vowels and syllables for me to keep it in my working memory. However, Zah’majai quickly became memorable for his exemplary behavior and thirst for knowledge. In terms of Zah’majai’s comportment, you couldn’t ask for a better student; he’s so polite in tone and diction and works hard at both homework and digital learning tasks. Moreover, his insatiable love of learning results in a positive tutoring experience for Zah’majai and every tutor he has ever worked with. For these two reasons, Zah’majai has earned the well-deserved distinction of Student of the Month for the month of June.

Brian Lopez, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor

Region 1 – East LA

Jordan, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Jordan, 7th Grade. Working with Jordan was a challenge in the beginning but he has progressed so much in the short time that I have tutored him. When we started working together, he wasn’t interested in studying; so I found out what his interests are and used this knowledge to motivate him. He especially enjoys our science experiments! I appreciate the trust we’ve built together. Jordan is an amazing student!

Destiny Mendez, Intern

Region 2 – South LA

Leonell, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Leonell, 3rd Grade . Leonell is the Student of the Month in Region 2 because he works really hard. He is a very fun and energetic boy with a big imagination. After five months of tutoring him, Leonell received an award for most improved student in mathematics. Tutoring Leonell has been a rewarding experience, I hope to be with School on Wheels for a very long time!

Rihana Noorzayee, Tutor

Region 3 – Westside

Latoya, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Latoya, 3rd Grade. Latoya and I split our time between language arts and math, always saving a few minutes to talk about her day and for “library time”, when I lend her a few books to take home for the week. It has been so rewarding, watching her this year as she became stronger and stronger in math and really worked hard to learn her multiplication tables. She has such a great sense of humor and enjoys the humorous books and poems we sometimes read together.

Elin Schwartz, Tutor

Region 4 – Long Beach, South Bay

Angel, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Angel, 1st Grade . Angel is a first grader who is full of cheer and smiles when we are together. His favorite subjects include reading, math, and dinosaurs! Despite some initial difficulty with his reading homework, he tries hard and steadily makes progress each week sounding out word parts, learning sight words, and finding the meaning of the passages that we read. Our favorite activities to help him improve include reading books, rhyming games, mobile apps such as Monkey Junior, and flash cards. We often score each other, take turns, and turn it into a friendly competition. Angel has made great improvements on vowel sounds, consonants, and digraphs in his latest phonics assessment.

John Park, Tutor

Region 6 – Inland Empire

Oscar, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Oscar, 12th Grade. Oscar comes to my group tutoring sessions every Tuesday and Thursday on time and eager to learn. He enjoys learning about history and geography the most. He not only inspires others around him but also encourages them to stay on task and take full advantage of the assistance the tutors provide. Oscar’s leadership, regular attendance and willingness to better himself set the tone for each and every session we have. He leads by example without ever being asked to do so. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to work with a student with such potential, and feel confident that Oscar will go on to accomplish great things in life academically and professionally.

Way to go, Oscar!

Cheyne Burton, Tutor

Region 12 – North Orange County

Ramon, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Ramon, 5th Grade. Ramon is in 5th grade and is such a joy to work with! I’ve had the privilege of seeing him grow both academically and as a person. He has become more conscientious in school, and matured into an outstanding young man who possesses both integrity and creativity. Ramon’s upbeat and humorous personality make our tutoring sessions fun. He loves skateboarding and drawing, and I know he will excel in any area he chooses to pursue in life!

Gabi Marino, Tutor

Online Tutoring

Killiy, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Killiy, 7th Grade. Killiy is an incredible student and individual, one with a large heart for others and with a just-as-large drive to succeed in her academics and beyond. One major success story that I’d love to mention is how much Killiy has improved in adding and subtracting fractions together, especially those with unlike denominators. After a couple of weeks of practice, Killiy was able to solve these types of problems with relative ease and quickness. Also, Killiy is a Tic-Tac-Toe master!

Fahim Zubair, Online Tutor

Jun 1

Tutors of the Month – June 2016

Skid Row Learning Center

Sahand Pirbadian and Pouye Sedighian, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Sahand Pirbadian and Pouye Sedighian. One of the main character traits we help the students learn is teamwork. The wonderful husband and wife team of Sahand and Pouye is the perfect example! Every single Thursday they come to the Learning Center together to tutor whoever needs help. They also join us at the shelter when we take the students to play in the gym. Together they designed and executed an active game to help the kindergarteners learn the alphabet!

Here is what Sahand had to say about their experience, “We love tutoring at School on Wheels because we believe in the importance of education for every student’s future well-being. Coming to School on Wheels is an absolute joy and the highlight of every single week for us.”

Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor

Region 1 – East LA

Destiny Mendez, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Destiny Mendez. Destiny is a dedicated tutor and intern! She first joined School on Wheels in September 2015 and has been integral to the support and success of Region 1. She has served as a Tutor Coordinator for three sites, tutoring students at our various group homes and domestic violence shelters. Destiny plans weekly fun and creative activities to engage her students and provides continuing administrative support to staff. I could not be more grateful for her hard work and commitment.

In her own words, “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing team. They all have one goal in mind and that is to help kids. When I started with School on Wheels, it exceeded my expectations. Getting the opportunity to work with these kids changed my perspective on life.”

Daisy Arce, Regional Coordinator

Region 2 – South LA

Rihana Noorzayee, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Rihana Noorzayee. Rihana is a very busy middle school student who finds the time to be a consistent tutor. She is accompanied by her mother Zarin, who often helps during her sessions. Rihana is so dedicated; she has been with the same student since she joined School on Wheels a year ago. She was recognized for her dedication by being awarded the Presidential Service Award for 100 hours of volunteering. I’m grateful to have her and Zarin in this region!

Kenisha Edwards, Regional Coordinator

Region 3 – Westside

Elin Schwartz, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Elin Schwartz. Elin was one of the first tutors that I had the pleasure of speaking with when I first started as Regional Coordinator in Region 3. I am so impressed and thankful for the amount of time and care she puts into her tutoring sessions and her student. She doesn’t just come to help with homework, but she works hard at identifying what exactly her student needs help with and filling in those gaps. Thank you so much, Elin, for your dedication and passion!

Tutoring has always been something I enjoyed. As a child, I worked with neighbor kids; through the years, I have volunteered at Headstart, PATH and Koreh LA. I found School on Wheels again a few years ago, after having tutored back in the 90’s when SOW was first forming. It was exciting to see how much it has grown and really inspiring to be part of it again.

Kyle McDonough, Regional Coordinator

Region 4 – Long Beach, South Bay

John Park, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– John Park. I wanted to join School on Wheels as a volunteer to make a positive impact in the lives of disadvantaged homeless kids. Being a positive role model and helping students build the foundation for their lives is extremely rewarding. From the supportive coordinators to the families and their children, it has been a wonderful experience. Watching the kids work, improve, and grow, despite great adversity, is nothing less than inspirational.

Louis Mena, Regional Coordinator

Region 6 – Inland Empire

Cheyne Burton, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Cheyne Burton. Cheyne has been an amazing School on Wheels tutor and tutor coordinator (TC) for the past year. Each week Cheyne provides consistency for the students, logs his hours regularly and uses creative techniques to engage the students in learning. Cheyne is not only an outstanding tutor and TC but is also a phenomenal positive role model. As a TC, he goes the extra mile. As a tutor and role model he looks for ways to motivate his students and guide them. Here is what Cheyne has to say about his experience as a tutor:

“Since I began tutoring with School on Wheels in April of 2015, my goal has been to help students with homework, offer guidance with career planning, or just be a friend that they know they can count on. The consistency I can provide students is the most rewarding aspect of tutoring at School on Wheels.”

Thank you for your dedication, you are such an inspiration, Cheyne!

Marisol Farfan, Regional Coordinator

Region 12 – North Orange County

Gabi Marino, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Gabi Marino. Gabi is an amazing tutor. She brings a lot of creativity and fun into their experience. Ramon seems very excited to see her and stays engaged throughout. I feel so blessed to have tutors like Gabi that have the heart and the passion. Thank you for making a difference Gabi! You are greatly appreciated!!

In her own words, “I have been tutoring with School on Wheels since September 2015; it has been a wonderful experience! I am currently studying to become a middle school math teacher. Tutoring has given me great practice and even more excitement about becoming a teacher.”

Trish Arias, Regional Coordinator

Online Tutoring

Fahim Zubair, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Fahim Zubair. Fahim’s unwavering dedication to his students and his meticulous attention to detail during his online tutoring sessions are qualities that provide our students with an essential foundation to grow and thrive. A college student at the University of Texas at Austin, Fahim has been an online tutor with us for over a year! We are so thankful to have Fahim on our team.

In his own words:

I cherish my experience with Schools on Wheels. Tutoring Vern and Killiy has been an irreplaceable experience for me. The drive, passion, and grit that Vern and Killy have demonstrated continue to fuel my own drive to achieve and pursue my goals and passions in life! I would like to express my deep appreciation to Schools on Wheels for providing me with the amazing opportunity and for opening my eyes to the realities of homelessness in the lives of our children and youth.

Ian Chan, Digital Learning Coordinator

Jun 1

June 2016 Newsletter

We experienced a great victory in June when we were awarded $75,000 by the Viewers to Volunteers Charity Champions League! With the support of our staff members, volunteers, and team captain Kevin Frazier of Entertainment Tonight we finished in third place. We were also very honored to be added to Mohawk Bend’s menu as the featured pie of the month. Supporters were able to order a “Pizza on Wheels” and earn $4 per pie for our organization. This month we also heard success stories from a few of our former students about attending college and their experience with School on Wheels. Lastly, we prepared our tutors for the summer months and held a preparation event to make sure they had everything necessary to encourage summer learning in our kids.