Every year we publish our safety policies to remind volunteers of how important it is to comply with these mandated policies. At School on Wheels, we do everything we can to protect our students – the most vulnerable children in our society. We also want to safeguard our volunteers from potential risks. Please review these mandatory policies again to help ensure the safety of our students, as well as our volunteers.
Tutoring must take place in a public area and has to be scheduled so that two or more tutors are present at the same time and place. For smaller locations, libraries or other public locations with only one tutor, the tutor must work with their student within sight and earshot of another adult (shelter staff/ residents, library staff or parents).
Tutors must refrain from initiating physical contact with students and must report immediately to their coordinator or School on Wheels staff if they feel uncomfortable in a situation.
Tutors are required to wear their School on Wheels badges to identify they are tutors and so that our students become comfortable with our name and logo. Please let your coordinator know if you need a new badge.
Field Trip Safety Policy
Tutors who wish to take students on field trips must consult and follow the SOW field trip policy. Tutors cannot provide transportation outside of this policy. If tutoring takes place outside a shelter, the parent/guardian is responsible for the student’s attendance and transportation. All parents/guardians must stay at the location for the duration of the off-site session.
Volunteers are required to log all tutoring hours via the School on Wheels database. Logging is a critical and a mandatory part of being a volunteer in our program. This policy is first and foremost for the safety and security of our students, but also to protect our tutors. With accurate logging, we can identify exactly who, where and when tutoring takes place.
The safety of our students is a sacred trust. We cannot compromise that. I know you agree. Thank you so much for being a wonderful volunteer and ensuring the safety of your student. If you have any questions, please contact your coordinator.
Last month we kicked off our Matching Gift Challenge by sharing 9-year-old Sheli’s story and how she is beating the odds stacked against her with the help and support of School on Wheels. We are happy to announce that our donors and supporters accepted the challenge and raised over $54,000!
Thank you to our generous supporters for accepting this challenge and then for smashing it!
All contributions up to $50,000 will be matched by the Sharon D. Lund Foundation, and longtime donors Steven and Stephanie Dahlberg.
On Sunday, October 22, 2017, School on Wheels was honored at The Good Shepherd Shelter’s 40th Anniversary Gala with their Champion Award. Catherine Meek, Executive Director of School on Wheels, was presented with the award. You can watch her acceptance speech here.
School on Wheels has been providing tutoring services to The Good Shepherd Shelter for over 10 years and recently opened a digital learning room at the site. This is what they had to say about our partnership:
“As you can imagine, with the turmoil of a violent household, many of our children who enter our shelter program are below grade level and often have emotional, behavioral, and learning disabilities. We wouldn’t be able to address the unique learning needs of our students so effectively without the ongoing support from School on Wheels tutors who offer after-school support to our students including a homework club and other enrichment activities. In addition to receiving tutoring support, which helps them significantly improve their grades, our students also create a meaningful relationship with the volunteers they work with daily and build a great deal of trust towards them. It is our pleasure to honor School on Wheels with the Good Shepherd Shelter Champion Award for all the tireless and much-needed work they do for our students.”
I hear a lot of people asking what can we do to combat the racism, ignorance and hatred exhibited on the streets, in leadership positions and in the hearts of many who live in our country. Over 80 percent of our students are children of color; 53 percent are of Hispanic heritage. And they are afraid. Many are used to fear, anxiety and stress – they experience those feelings every single day because they are homeless. They are used to being bullied, shamed and ridiculed.
We must let our students and their families know that the actions unfolding in places like Charlottesville are unacceptable and not reflective of who we are as a community. At School on Wheels, we value diversity, inclusion and equality. We deplore and condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the strongest terms. We affirm our commitment to serving the most vulnerable and fragile among us – homeless children.
We must not be defeated by bigotry and ignorance. In the midst of all this sorrow, darkness and anger, we can stand up, speak out and remind ourselves that in our School on Wheels community, we have thousands of people who believe that love and truth will win out. I am inspired by the courage our students display every day just to go to school, the generosity of our supporters and friends who sustain us, and the precious time and dedication our volunteers give to our students.
There is much work to be done, and we need your help to do it. So if someone asks you, “What can we do to help, to uphold our shared values, to demonstrate love and kindness?” tell them to use their energy and power to support organizations like School on Wheels. We can make a huge difference in the life of a homeless child. This is what we can do.