In December we ended the year with a bang! The LA Times stopped by the Skid Row Learning Center and interviewed Allison Maldonado, the instructor at the center. You can watch the full video here. We also got a surprise visit from our good friend Kevin Bacon, actor, and founder, of the nonprofit SixDegrees.org. He was interviewed by one of our students for KCAL9 News and even danced with students and sang along as they played Karaoke!
A Big thank you to our donor of the month the Joyful Giving team who hosted this year’s fundraiser. 300 supporters bought tickets to The Sip of SouthBay at The Shade Hotel in Redondo Beach and bid on our live and silent auctions raising over $150,000 for our program. We also had some amazing star students and volunteers. Nate 5th Grade has gone from struggling to add to mastering multiplication. Even on days when he feels overwhelmed, Nate never gives up. One of our Star Volunteers, Sheryl Luttrel is a dedicated tutor and has been with us for almost three years now. She is always willing to jump in and help wherever is needed.
Thank you to 21st Century Solutions, NBC4 and Telemundo 52 for funding School on Wheels’ Digital Learning Centers. Watch this short video to see how they are helping us and other nonprofits in SoCal.
The grants support community organizations that are advancing neighborhoods forward through innovative programs with creative solutions to various social challenges. Hundreds of Southern California-based nonprofit organizations competed for a 21stCentury Solutions award ranging from $100,000 to $50,000 in the areas of Civic Engagement, Education, Environment, Jobs and Economic Empowerment, Media and Technology.
“Funding to these deserving organizations means Southern Californians will have more social services available to improve the lives across many areas in the region,” said Steve Carlston, President and General Manager, NBC4 Southern California. “Expanding community programs flourish and grow neighborhoods, and we’re thrilled to be at the forefront in making a difference.” “We are excited to provide local community-based organizations with funding opportunities to help expand their programming to serve the needs of our growing community,” said Celia Chavez, President and General Manager, Telemundo 52 Los Angeles. “We look forward to seeing the impact of these innovative programs for years to come.”
Catherine Meek, Executive Director with Officer Tang
Every year Paradise Cove Beach Cafe and Paradise Cove Land Company host a holiday party for our students. The children had a fabulous time as always. This year over 200 students from 14 homeless shelters throughout Southern California were bussed in for a day of fun and great food. The furthest being from Pomona and Garden Grove.
The California Highway Patrol provided the gifts for the kids and over 23 Explorers (their young volunteers) showed up to help out.
Santa arrived in a firetruck…
Thank you to everyone who made this possible and a special thank you to Bob Morris and all the staff at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe for making this a day to remember for our students!
We would like to give a huge shout out to all of these amazing tutors who have volunteered with us for a year or more! We couldn’t impact the lives of thousands of children without you.
“In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that… In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
Eight Years Wendy Hsiao
Six Years Katy Michaelis
Four Years Thomas DuHamel
Three Years Karen Gray
Two Years Patrick Anderson
One Year Afifa Amouri-Nouaili
School on Wheels is honored to announce that President of OMD Entertainment, Susan Taylor will join the Board of Directors.
“I created The Emily Austin Project for School on Wheels in honor of a young colleague’s sudden and tragic death. The Project provided a much needed outlet to help put grief into action. In learning more about School on Wheels I knew I wanted to be part of this small but mighty organization in a more substantial way. I am excited to join their Board of Directors.” - Susan Taylor
Susan is a career veteran of the entertainment and advertising industries focusing on film, television and theater. She currently holds the position of President, OMD Entertainment, an Omnicom agency that exclusively services The Walt Disney Company, including Studios, DCP, Franchise, DATG and Home Entertainment.
During her tenure at OMD Entertainment, Susan created The Emily Austin Project which continues today. The Emily Austin Project includes a corporate footprint for tutoring throughout her company in addition to a donation portal. Susan’s parents were both educators with LAUSD and she is a passionate believer in the importance of education in providing opportunity and hope.
“Susan is a great addition to our Board of Directors. She embodies the spirit of community and will bring talent, expertise and energy to our Board. We have all been inspired not only by her fundraising efforts in memorializing her former colleague, Emily Austin, but also in allowing her employees to use part of their workday to tutor our homeless students.” Catherine Meek, Executive Director.
“Nate (5th Grade) loves art and he also knows that he needs to work on his math skills. So, I thought, let’s combine the two! We’ve worked together on coloring sheets: for every part of a drawing he colored, we worked on a math problem. One hour, once a week, for 2 months. Nate has gone from struggling to add to mastering his times tables. Even on days when he feels overwhelmed, Nate never gives up. It has been a joy to work with him.” – Ian Chan – Online Tutor
Skid Row Learning Center:
Lily (Kindergarten) is one of the sweetest, funniest, most precocious kindergarteners you’ll ever meet. Every day Lily comes in joyful and ready to learn. Her willingness to complete her homework and her commitment to excellence are a sight to see!
Region 4 – Long Beach, South Bay Cities:
“Aliyah is an amazing kindergartner. I ask her every session if there is anything she wants to work on (besides her coloring skills) and was surprised when she wanted to learn the Pledge of Allegiance. It makes sense as she is new to school, but I’ve never had that request before and it shows how seriously Aliyah takes her role as student. I look forward to our sessions together and wonder how she will amaze me next week. Thank you, School on Wheels, for this opportunity!” – Sheryl Luttrell, Tutor
Region 7 – San Fernando Valley:
Jadelynn (4th Grade) is a sweet fourth grader with a lot of potential. She is very funny, intelligent, competitive and creative. She has a lot of energy and shows a great passion for learning. Her goal for the future is to become a teacher at the elementary school that she attends. – Maya McKeever, Tutor
Region 8 – Ventura County:
Bobbie (6th Grade) – “When not doing homework, Bobbie enjoys dancing — specifically hip-hop and ballet — and hopes to become a choreographer. As an avid reader, Bobbie has become a fairly good speller and will be competing in the local spelling bee. She has an insatiable appetite for learning, but the best part about our sessions is when she looks at me with the “I get it now” look. Just priceless! It has been an honor to be her tutor.” – Kathy Jarman, Tutor
Region 12 – North Orange County:
Caleb (7th Grade) – “At first, Caleb was hesitant to give new things a try and he would only give short, quick responses to questions. He has become much more comfortable challenging himself with new or difficult activities. With a solid amount of dedication, consistency, and determination, reading is now his favorite activity. I am proud of his improvement and excited to see his progression continue in the upcoming months.” – Jacob Maldonado, Tutor