Author: Martha Dietzel

Aug 1

School on Wheels Appoints Charles W. Evans, Jr. as New Executive Director

Longtime ED Catherine Meek to serve as Executive Advisor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sinead Chilton, 213 905 2777

LOS ANGELES—August 1, 2019- Ushering in its next generation of leadership during a critical time in serving children experiencing homelessness, seasoned School on Wheels executive Charles W. Evans Jr. has been appointed as the new Executive Director for School on Wheels (SOW) effective August 1, 2019. Veteran SOW Executive Director Catherine Meek, who was involved in the search committee’s process, will remain with SOW as an executive advisor continuing to work with foundations and donors. The announcement was made by the Board of Directors of School on Wheels who named Evans to his new role.

The homeless crisis in Los Angeles County now impacts over 60,000 homeless public school students, with 17,494 in LAUSD alone. School on Wheels relies on funding from individual donors, major corporations and foundations to fund programs that train and mobilize volunteer tutors to educate and mentor children in homeless situations throughout six counties in Southern California. In 2018 SOW provided tutoring services to over 3,600 children, as well as over 5,500 backpacks filled with school supplies.

Evans begins his new role effective August 1 in full partnership with Meek, who through a transition period will be actively involved in day-to-day operations. Ultimately Meek will focus solely on advising Evans and the Board on fundraising strategies and relations. Meek has worked with School on Wheels since 2000, including roles as a volunteer, regional coordinator, organization consultant, and COO before her election as Executive Director in 2009.

 “Charles has an outstanding track record working with School on Wheels to help and empower children who experience homelessness to succeed academically. He has the passion and experience building and leading teams, creating opportunities, delivering results, and leveraging his creativity to make a positive impact during a time of great urgency for our community and mission,” said Josh Fein, Board President. “We are thrilled that Catherine will continue as a trusted advisor and contributor. The partnership between Charles and Catherine will make the organization stronger and better prepared for the future.”

Stated Meek: “I could not be happier that Charles has been selected as my successor. Charles and I have worked together for more than ten years and we will continue to partner to keep School on Wheels strong, solution-oriented and striving to help as many children experiencing homelessness as possible. Charles has worked and flourished in every position he has held at School on Wheels.  As Executive Director, Charles will lead us to a new level of success in helping and giving hope to our students.  He is exactly the right person at this critical time in our history.”

Evans joined School on Wheels in 2008 as a regional coordinator in South Los Angeles, where he was born and raised. He was subsequently promoted to executive leadership positions, and prior to being named Executive Director served as SOW’s Chief Regional Officer. In this role, he oversaw 11 regions in six counties in Southern California, covering more than 3,600 students and 2,300 volunteers.  As part of the leadership team, Evans serves on the Board Strategic Planning Committee where he contributed to the development and enhancement of SOW’s student outreach program by partnering with several school districts and agencies serving homeless children. Prior to School on Wheels, Evans worked for FAME Renaissance as an Environmental Outreach Field Representative, under the leadership of Reverend Cecil “Chip” Murray.

“I am so honored to have the opportunity of being School on Wheels’ next executive director. Being able to continue to build upon the legacy of Agnes and Catherine is exciting yet humbling,” said Evans. “The last 10 and a half years have been an amazing and inspirational journey, and I look forward to leading School on Wheels into a promising future.” 

About School on Wheels

School on Wheels is a local nonprofit founded in1993 that trains and connects volunteer tutors to children living in shelters, motels, vehicles, group foster homes, and on the streets in Southern California. They are the only organization in Southern California dedicated exclusively to the educational needs of this fragile population. Last year, they tutored over 3,600 kids with the support of over 2,300 volunteers.

The heart of School on Wheels’ programs is the volunteer tutors who come from all backgrounds and professions, with a shared goal – to reach out to a child without a home to teach, to mentor, and to assist in their educational life.

Jul 11

NBC4 and Telemundo 52 Kick Off Supporting Our Schools Donation Drive to Support School on Wheels

NBC4 and Telemundo 52 Los Angeles have launched the return of Supporting Our Schools donation drive from July 11-19. The stations are teaming up with Ralphs and Food 4 Less to provide homeless students in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties with essential school supplies they need before school starts in the fall.

The public is invited to make a $1 or more donation at check-out when shopping at their local Ralphs and Food 4 Less supermarket – visit Ralphs.comand Food4Less.com to find a location near you. All proceeds will go to support School on Wheels!

Tune in to NBC4 and visit NBCLA.com/SupportingOurSchools for news stories about the need for school supplies in underserved communities.

NBC4 will also be reporting live at the following Ralphs locations – stop by to make your donation and meet the news team:

• July 11 – 2930 E 4Th St., Long Beach, CA 90814

• July 12 – 14049 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

• July 18 – 12051 Euclid Street, Garden Grove, CA 92840

• July 19 – 14919 Whittier Blvd, Whittier, CA 90605

Also, follow the effort on social media @NBCLA using hashtag #SupportingOurSchools.

Jun 25

2019 Graduation Stories

June is our favorite month because we get to hear about all the successes our students have achieved during the school year.  We caught up with a few of our high school grads and their families and tutors to see their graduation photos and hear their stories.  

“My student Eric went from D’s and C’s to A’s and B’s.” tutor Anna Mack said proudly when we spoke to her on the phone last week. “We met at the shelter he was at with his family two years ago and we’ve tutored every week since.” Eric will be attending Cal Poly in the fall.

“I struggled as a Junior in high school. I was failing classes and wasn’t focused on my education. But for my senior year, I had a tutor – Brittany. I finally wasn’t on my own anymore. I became less frustrated with school and I started to feel positive and just started to do it. I want to study culinary arts or environmental science and plan to attend Los Angeles Mission College.” – Student Ossie 

“When I got my family into a shelter School on Wheels came right alongside us and helped my kids with their education. I didn’t have the education to help them myself. We are extremely proud of Ashley. She is the first in our family to graduate from high school.” – Xochitl, Ashley’s Mom

With your support, we can help more students like Eric, Ashley, and Ossie!

Jun 25

2,500 Backpacks Ready for Students!

This June the Caleb and Calder Sloan’s Awesome Foundation hosted a backpack stuffing event at this year’s Promax Conference, where attendees stuffed 2,500 backpacks full of school supplies for our students. The event was organized by the Sydney Paige Foundation, who sourced the backpacks and supplies and set up the event. A huge thank you to everyone involved, especially the School on Wheels volunteers and staff who helped unpack, unload, and reload the thousands of backpacks and school supplies – no easy task.  


The storage units US Storage Centers provided at the La Crescenta location.

A special shout out to US Storage Centers – they reached out to us around community partnerships they wanted to build in anticipation of the opening of their new Compton location and the timing couldn’t have been better. The storage units they provided at their La Crescenta location for these backpacks was offered just in the nick of time. We are so happy to partner with an organization that supports our mission to provide children the educational support they need!

We can’t wait to start distributing these awesome backpacks full of supplies to our students for the start of a new school year!

Jun 19

Students of the Month – June 2019

Jaya

Age 9

Jaya enjoys science and scientific experiments. She also plays Roblox a good amount. I honestly can’t think of any big academic challenge that Jaya couldn’t get. She’s an excellent student and can understand what I try to explain. Jaya hopes to become an engineer when she gets older.

Kai, Tutor

Angel

Age 13

Angel has been plugging away at math problems all month long! I have watched him grasp topics and begin to improve. Angel loves skateboarding, online tutoring, and hot chips.

Jason W., SRLC Instructor

Jaylene

Age 11

When I met Jaylene, she had just started 5th grade, but her level of math was of 2nd grade. So we worked each week studying 2nd grade onwards math while also doing the 5th-grade math that was done in her school to keep her grades up. She worked very hard with always a smile on her face. Jaylene wants to be an oncologist. She wants to earn well and support herself while also contributing to society by providing care for those who can’t afford. Jaylene has always amazed me with her resilience, courage, and hope for her future.

Manmeet, Tutor

Kaylee

Age 9

Kaylee loves to hang out with her friends and cousins. Her favorite subject at school is reading. She also really enjoys playing games, playing outside, reading books, and doing typing practice online. Kaylee has taught me that persistence is so important. When she puts her mind to her work, she makes incredible progress and completes it quickly and well.

Joelle, Tutor

Ryder

Age 8

Ryder loves to skateboard. He couldn’t read when I first started tutoring, but now he can complete a whole book! From Ryder I have learned how to be more patient, understanding, and compassionate.

Andrew, Tutor

Takara

Age 12

Takara loves anything KPOP!! Period. 🙂 So I try to incorporate a bit of dance to each session. She wants to learn to speak Korean and to travel to Korea and possibly do a Study Abroad program. I have learned from her how important it is to do what you love. To really believe in your passion and let it flow through you, allowing you to dream big. This is a sure path to happiness. 🙂

Carla, Tutor
Jun 19

Tutors of the Month – June 2019

Melinda Gevorgian

Region 7

I nominated Melinda because I can always count on her to be consistent, dedicated, have a huge smile on her face, and a day brightener for the kids she tutors. I am very lucky to have her in Region 7!

Riley H., Team Leader

I learned about School on Wheels after searching online about different ways to give back to my community. I was already volunteering with the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission.

I started volunteering because I have been fortunate enough to have had the ease and convenience of having my parents provide me with resources like school supplies and homework help when I needed it. Without the resources they have granted me, I wouldn’t have been successful in all the endeavors I have embarked on up to this point. I realize how lucky I have been throughout my life and wanted to give back to those who have just as much, if not more potential than I, so they, too, can accomplish their goals.

One experience with a student that made me smile was when I was working with a brilliant 11 year old boy as part of the School on Wheels Summer Reading Program. He met me and the other tutors with a lot of resistance in the beginning, but he just needed to be approached little patience and kept accountable. By the end of the program he was reading more pages from his book than we planned for him to read during each week and was able to finish the book with more concentration than I saw in any other student that also participated in the program. I’m glad that I was able to bring out some of the greatness this student has to offer the world.

Manmeet Sodhi

Region 1

Manmeet has a positivity about her that is completely contagious. She has so much passion for tutoring and goes above and beyond for her students. She really embodies everything we strive to do here at School on Wheels!

Riley H., Team Leader

I have always believed that to bring about a change in our society we need to work on our children. Unless we educate them, we cannot bring real changes. Each child deserves to be sculpted by education so they can not just take on the world, but also contribute to make it a better place. My focus, therefore, was on the ones that are unable to get proper education due to their circumstances. That’s why School on Wheels seemed like a perfect place to volunteer.

Tutoring is the most fulfilling experience in life — you get to equip kids with knowledge, love, hope, and wisdom. You are giving them something that can never be taken away from them, no matter what. Also, you don’t need fancy degrees to become a volunteer tutor. All you need is a bit of passion and the internet 🙂

Kai Ferragallo-Hawkins

Region 7

Make sure that the education is at your students pace, not at your own. And don’t forget to have a bit of fun, it can definitely improve the experience for them. It’s far too often that children don’t have the resources to complete an education – the platform they can use to advance themselves in life. School on Wheels is an organization that tries to equalize that difference, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Kai

Joelle Suh

Region 2

I nominated Joelle or her dedication and commitment to her student. As a high school student, she showed an extraordinary maturity and understanding. Her students have grown to trust her and bond with her. She is a dependable and reliable tutor, and a wonderful mentor!

Danait B., Team Leader

I started volunteering, honestly, because I needed to fulfill my requirements for school. I was trying to find something that I’d enjoy doing, and over the past couple years that I’ve been volunteering with School on Wheels, it’s become more than just a requirement. I’ve built a close bond with my student, and it’s been such a privilege to watch her grow and make progress.

If someone was thinking about becoming a volunteer tutor, I’d first say thank you for taking their time and energy to do so. There are no doubt some harder sessions, when the students aren’t focusing and can’t perform their homework as well as usual, but overall, the sessions are so rewarding and well worth the effort.

Andrew Kim

Region 2

I started volunteering because I saw the gap in academic support between different socioeconomic levels within my own high school and I felt that I needed to be part of the solution to ending this gap.

One experience that made me smile was when my student read a whole book with no help from me and I saw how proud of himself he was for completing it.

Andrew

Carla Gentile

Online

Carla is extremely creative in meeting her student where she’s at. She is really good at incorporating her student’s interests to make learning fun and relevant for her. This is especially challenging to do in an online tutoring context. Carla goes above and beyond to connect with her student remotely by mailing her books that they read together.

Emma G., Coordinator

I was looking for a way to contribute to my community when I found School on Wheels. Living downtown you see the devastation on a daily basis due to homelessness. It’s a terrible cycle some people just can’t get out of. I feel that education is the most important thing to help break this cycle. But education comes in so many ways, most importantly to be a critical thinker, a free thinker, to learn to ask questions and have the confidence to stand up for yourself and clearly navigate the challenges they will face in their lives.