“Safety and security don’t just happen. They are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”
– Nelson Mandela
As a nonprofit dedicated to supporting children experiencing homelessness, we understand the anxiety and trauma families suffer living in homeless shelters, but we cannot begin to imagine the stress and fear children and parents are enduring by being separated and held in tents and detention centers.
No matter what our opinions are about immigration policy, surely we can all agree that children have no control over their situation. Children are fragile and vulnerable. The impact of separation on them is unconscionable. We can’t unsee images of babies and children being taken from their parents to be used for political reasons. There is no protocol in place for keeping track of parents and children concurrently, for keeping parents and children in contact with each other while they are separated, or for eventually reuniting them. Surely a nation as generous and compassionate as the United States can find a way to prevent separating children from their parents.
If we are to protect our civility, our values, our worth as a society, we must first protect our children… all of our children.
As 2018 is our 25th Anniversary and in celebration of all things 25 we are posting a series of lists to help you our volunteers make the most of our resources. Summer is a great time to catch up and hone your tutoring skills. Our Education team are constantly creating and sharing workshops and webinars on various topics relating to tutoring and mentoring and here’s our TOP 25!
Tavin (age 5), Connor (age 8), and Tannar (age 10) – Tanner is an artistic, curious, and bright student. He sees math problems in his own unique way, and it is amazing to see the gears turning in his head and the smile that lights up his face after working hard to reach a solution. Tanner is growing more confident in reading (especially when it’s about exotic animals!) and his eagerness for math has helped him progress from basic multiplication to exponents. Congrats Tanner on Student of the Month! – Sammy Pedersen, Tutor
My name is Dawn, and I have been tutoring a 2nd grade student about 6 months. We have been focusing on his literacy and math skills. He has learned how to tell time and how to use decimals! He also is excited about building his literacy skills through learning games on the internet at the library. He also has his own library card now too! Way to go, student!!
– Dawn Hildebrand, Tutor
Zy’eire (2nd Grade) – “Zy” is always ready to tackle a new challenge. His persistence and positive attitude are always really inspirational. I have seen his hard work and mindset reflected in his improved reading skills. He also loves to draw and be creative! – Yuki Jung, Online Tutor
Collin (2nd Grade) – In the half year we have worked together, the thing that shines out about my 2nd grade tutee Collin is a blooming self-confidence. At first glance, one might think Collin is shy. In fact, though, he has a strong sense of who he is and an inspiring integrity, which have become more apparent as he gets more comfortable and trusting of me and our lessons. Collin teaches me what he needs to let this internal blossoming occur: uninterrupted silence as he works on a task, verbal support when he gets stuck and acknowledgement when he succeeds. Perhaps like other teachers, I come away from the lessons wondering who is teaching who. – Bonnie Insull, Tutor
Bonnie Insull – I first heard about School on Wheels a year ago, through Volunteer Match. Riverside has a large homeless population, many of whom live in tents on the other side of ‘my’ mountain. I’d been looking for a way to contribute positively to their lives for some time, so I was very excited to discover School on wheels.
Every week, I look forward to working with my 2nd grade student, Collin. Although I’ve been a teacher all my life, I hadn’t worked with elementary school students before. Tutoring a second grader provides a bright spot in my week and the deep satisfaction of using my years of teaching experience while expanding my skill and understanding. I am proud to be a part of this organization.
Region 8 – Ventura County:
Samantha Pedersen – Samantha is a wonderful tutor. She is extremely patient with her student and always comes prepared with new and interesting ways to engage his interest. As as a high school volunteer, Samantha always amazes me with her maturity and natural ability to engage with and bond with her student. We are so thankful to have you, Samantha!
– Angie Allmendinger, Regional Coordinator
Dawn Hildebrand – Dawn is an absolutely inspiring tutor. For the past few months, I have watched her student grow from a scared and quiet child that barely looked us in the eyes, to a gregarious eight-year-old. Connor is genuinely proud to share his achievements with Dawn, and her care, patience, and joy in his small successes is absolutely heartfelt. Thank you, Dawn!
– Angie Allmendinger, Regional Coordinator
Nathan Williams – In college, there’s a tendency for me to get caught up in my own affairs. As I spend my evenings working away in libraries and dormitories, campus gradually evolves into the entirety of my world. Consequently, I forget about the world around me. Fortunately, School on Wheels not only keeps me connected with the outside world, it also enables me to keep tabs on what’s going on back home in LA. The various students I’ve tutored through School on Wheels have taught me a lot about LA’s diverse backgrounds, teaching me that no one can ever really know the entirety of their city, let alone the world. In turn, School on Wheels has also granted me an opportunity to share a bit of Boston (my new home) with my students. Every online tutoring session serves as a cultural exchange of sorts, whereby both my students and I exchange bits of knowledge that we may have otherwise never known about the cities we call home. I moved from LA to Boston not long ago, and I’m glad to be able to continue as a volunteer with School on Wheels.
Matt Raab and Ian Chan outline our summer reading program for continued learning with your student this summer.
About the Presenters: Matt Raab has been a part of the school on wheels family for more than a decade and is currently our Program Director and Ian Chan began with SOW as an Americorps Vista and is now our wonderful program administrator.
On today’s show, Jason Richter and Dustin Burford join Adrian and Ethan in the studio. Adrian chats with Natasha Bayus, the Education Director and Lisa Frias, the Student Support Coordinator of School on Wheels, a nonprofit in Los Angeles working to bring educational opportunities to homeless children.
In this interview, Natasha and Lisa talk about the history of School on Wheels and how it has progressed over the years along with discussing the increase of homelessness in Los Angeles.
More than one million public school students in the United States have no room to call their own, no desk to do their homework, no bed to call their own at night. State data collected by the National Center for Homeless Education shows over 1.3 million homeless students in the 2015-2016 school year.
Here in California, as housing costs continue to soar, more and more children are suffering the severest of consequences: No place to call home.
Since 2014, the number of homeless children in California has jumped 20 percent. In the most recently released data, 202,329 young people are living in cars, motels, shelters, on the street or in crowded homes shared with other families. That’s over 3 percent of the enrolled K-12 students, more than twice the national rate, but the actual numbers are almost certainly higher.
In school, these homeless children face daunting challenges and require social services and academic help perhaps more than any other group. Faced with extreme poverty, stress and exhaustion, these children are far more likely to struggle academically and drop out of school than their peers.