Programs & Services
Volunteer tutoring is the cornerstone of our program. Our volunteers meet with their students every week to provide positive mentorship and educational assistance. Due to COVID-19, our students are currently meeting with their tutors weekly online only.
Our Digital Learning Initiative empowers our students to harness the power of technology and Internet/WiFi to be able to participate in online learning and develop crucial 21st-century skills. The ultimate goal of our initiative is to bridge the digital divide and provide equitable access to our students who would not have access otherwise.
Every student we meet receives a NEW backpack filled with school supplies. Annually we provide over 5,000 students with the tools they need to succeed in school. Learn more about running a virtual supply drive here.
Where We Serve
We partner with over 400 sites across Southern California—including libraries, shelters, and after-school programs. Volunteer tutors provide stability, consistency, and educational support.
Mission & Vision
Since 1993, the mission of School on Wheels has never wavered: to enhance educational opportunities for children who are experiencing homelessness from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Our goal is to shrink the gaps in their learning and provide them with the highest level of education possible. Our program serves as a consistent support system for our students during a time of great stress and fear.
School on Wheels was founded in 1993 by Agnes Stevens, a retired schoolteacher, who understood the importance of education to students devastated by homelessness—and the unique challenges they face. We were then, and we remain, the only organization in Southern California dedicated exclusively to the educational needs of this fragile population. In 1999, Catherine Meek became one of Agnes’ first volunteer tutors on Skid Row. They became firm friends and the fearless duo grew the program, expanding its reach beyond Los Angeles.
Catherine was Chief Operating Officer before being elected Executive Director, serving from 2009-2019. She oversaw the growth of School on Wheels from a small, local nonprofit to one that works with thousands of children in six counties in Southern California. Catherine now serves as Executive Advisor working with foundations and large funders. She believes that education is a right of every child and an economic imperative for our society. Catherine was named one of 10 Women of Worth in the U.S. in 2012 and has received numerous awards and accolades for her pro bono work. She still volunteers as a tutor.
Trust, integrity, innovation, flexibility, passion, and teamwork—these core values represent what we believe in, what we stand for, and how we approach everything we do. They determine how we treat each other, our students, volunteers, donors, partners, and the communities we serve. We measure our success by how well we live up to these values. We embrace people from all backgrounds, cultures, citizenships, experiences, and viewpoints.
Our staff and volunteers work hard to remove the barriers that stand between our students and their education. After ten weeks of tutoring, two thirds of our students improved their assessment scores by a grade level or more.
Our Volunteer Tutors
Our volunteers are the heart of our program.
In 2020 alone, 1,602 volunteers tutored
2,360 students experiencing homelessness.
Who We Are
The Executive Board
Chief Financial Officer,
Property Management Associates, Inc.
Chief Accounting Officer,
The Neiman Group Architects
Prof. Christine C. Goodman
Pepperdine University School of Law
Senior Vice President, Disney Studios
The Kissel Company, Inc.
Senior Vice President and General Counsel,
University of Southern California
School on Wheels
Cecil L. Murray
Professor of Religion,
Tanzy Chair in Christian Ethics, USC
Writer, Speaker, and Equality Activist
Senior Program Officer, Grants & Programs
Angela M. Sanchez
Program Analyst for College Success,
Janet A. Wertman
Principal Communications Group
Chief Education &
Chief Operating Officer
& Marketing Officer
Volunteer Support Coordinator
Volunteer Support Coordinator
Curriculum & Training
Training & Development Specialist
Digital Learning Specialist
Resource Support Specialist
Applications & Regional Support Coordinator
Communications & Operations Team
Volunteer Engagement Specialist
Skid Row Learning Center Assistant
Human Resources Generalist