Nov 18

We Are Thankful for You

In a year fraught with uncertainty it can be challenging, yet essential, to note glimmers of hope. Hope comes when volunteers support students in their formative years. Hope comes when donors and supporters fund programs that enhance marginalized communities. Hope comes when frontline workers dedicate themselves to serving their community. We give thanks for all these glimmers of hope and we give thanks for your support—not just of School on Wheels, but of any of the thousands of organizations that are working to make our community a better place.

We want to express our deepest gratitude to our community of supporters. Your time, talents, and contributions have allowed us to match more than 2,000 amazing kids with their very own tutor. Because of you, our students got the support that they wouldn’t have received otherwise. May this act as a reminder that a little hope goes a long way. Please continue to take care of yourself and others as we embark on this season of thankfulness. 

Charles Evans
Executive Director

Nov 16

Engaging Early Learners Virtually With PBS SoCal

In this 60-minute webinar, PBS SoCal’s early learning content specialist will explore strategies and concepts to aid educators in working with early learners via Zoom and other digital mediums.


About the Presenter: Suzie Hicks is PBS SoCal’s early learning content specialist, merging high-quality public media with engaging and effective curriculum both in and out of the classroom. Her background comes from informal educational institutions (aquariums, summer camps) and digital media. She is currently in production for her first book, Zaynab the Great and the Giant Plastic Monster, and works with local youth on STEM and environmental education initiatives.

Download a PDF of the slides HERE.

Nov 10

Students of the Month – Nov. 2020

Lily

Age 11

Lily loves to dance and draw in her free time and is interested in taking dance or art classes in the future. She is also interested in history and learning about different cultures.

Certain areas of math have presented a challenge, so we have focused on solidifying her foundation. I am constantly inspired by her positive attitude and willingness to try new things, even when they are challenging.

Eliana McIlvery, Tutor

Emmanuel

Age 9

Emmanuel wants to become a doctor. He loves drawing everything and anything, and also enjoys piano and likes classical music. He has been taking lessons since he was 6 years old, and is currently learning the piece “Sunflower.”


One thing we focus on is slowing down to read instructions so we can avoid making careless mistakes. Learning to tutor and adjusting to my student’s needs remind me to listen to understand instead of listening to respond. It is helping me think outside of the box as I need to explain/teach in ways he understands instead of how I learned it.

Meng Liev, Tutor

Karen

Age 8

Karen wants to be a police officer, teacher, and doctor. She loves mermaids, making slime, making her own squishies, and playing with her baby doll.


When we first started working together Karen told me that her biggest challenge is math, so when she told me she got an A+ on her math test, I was so proud! Karen also helps me practice my Spanish and teaches me new words.

Therese Auza, Tutor

Milo

Age 8

Milo is very talented and has a defined goal to become an architect. He loves to draw and sketch just about anything that comes to his mind, and also likes to play football.


Milo is very eager to learn and gives his all to everything we work on; there haven’t been many challenges. As an architect, Milo would like to someday help create a special community center just for families.


Family is important to him; he dreams of the day when he’ll get to play football and have fun being part of a big family. It makes me so happy to work with someone who loves to learn as much as I love to teach. Spending time with Milo always makes me smile.

Myrna Sanpascual, Tutor
Nov 10

Volunteers of the Month – Nov. 2020

Meng Liev

Region 9

Meng has been amazing during COVID-19; she has helped multiple students as we have been online. She was an amazing in-person Tutor Coordinator, and has been great as a virtual one as well, taking a leadership role in tutoring her students when they need it most!

Genesis Torres, Volunteer Support Coordinator

I have two favorite memories of volunteering as a tutor. Once, I brought oranges from my mom’s tree to share with the students. They immediately peeled and finished them off, with some students asking for extra oranges to take home to share with family. Sharing is caring!

Another time, a 3rd grader in class rested his head on my arm and told me I feel nice like his mom. I had been working with him and his best friends to get them to focus and not distract each other, and it felt so nice to be appreciated like that.

Volunteering as a tutor is a great way to feel young, to remember our youth, and to grow and be surprised with oneself.

Eliana McIlvery

Region 7

I nominated Eliana because she is so compassionate and understanding. Her gentle and open demeanor means she always lends a listening ear to her student. She motivates, encourages, and always makes sure that her student feels heard and validated. She’s the best!

Maxine Faustino, Volunteer Support Coordinator

I have always wanted to do more for my community, and I strongly believe that everyone deserves a good education. I am passionate about school and teaching so I knew School on Wheels would be a great fit.

During our breaks, I always ask my student questions about her interests or fun moments with her friends. Listening to her describe her favorite shows and talk about all these happy memories always makes me smile.

I would tell any prospective tutor to just go for it, even if they think it might be challenging. The best part of School on Wheels is that you learn right along with your student.

Therese Auza

Region 8

Therese is a dedicated, positive, and enthusiastic tutor who always shows up with a warm smile for her students. She met with her first student in a small room at a crowded emergency shelter and now meets with her second student online. Despite the challenges, she is always ready with fun and engaging lessons and makes her student feel like they are an important part of a learning team. I am so grateful for caring tutors like Therese!

Chris Walsh, Regional Coordinator

Education is so valuable. Mentorship played a large role in my ability to pursue higher education, and it makes me so happy to dedicate my time to helping another student succeed.

I always smile when I think back to when my student called me her friend! I can see the difference it makes in my student’s academic success to have consistent tutoring through School on Wheels, especially at this time, with online learning.

If you’re thinking about tutoring, do it; it’s definitely worth it!

Myrna Sanpascual

Region 6

Myrna’s love for children and teaching inspires me deeply. She is wonderful with each student she tutors and they all love her! Myrna creates wonderful PowerPoint presentations for each of her online sessions that are fun, colorful, and exciting for her students. She is also sure to include each parent in their child’s progress. I wish she was my teacher when I was younger!

Stephanie Swenseid, Regional Coordinator

It’s always been my dream to help my community through teaching, so one month into retirement as a public school teacher I signed up to be a volunteer tutor with School on Wheels.

My student Milo and I took a quick liking to each other the moment we connected on Big Blue Button. It soon became obvious that we both needed each other; I needed him to continue my love for teaching, and he needed me to have that special one to one time to focus on his education. Milo works hard and is always excited for our time together. It’s really special for the both of us.

For those who are thinking of volunteering as a tutor, I say seize the day and let these kids show you what they’re capable of when someone takes time to show they care and care enough to show them how to do great things.

Yale Wang

Region 1

Yale is a great tutor who is always eager to connect with his students and mentor them. He always there for his students, and both students and location staff absolutely love him!

Manmeet Sodhi, Regional Coordinator

I was looking for a meaningful volunteering opportunity that aligns with my passion and fortunately I found School on Wheels just in time. Coming from an under-resourced community, I realized how uneven the playing field really is. With a stable household, I am blessed with the opportunity to change my life trajectory with the power of education, but children of the homeless community aren’t often given the same opportunity.

One of the first students that I worked with had trouble with mathematics. I used one of the toy sets in the room to help him figure out the arithmetic and understand the concept in a different way. We quickly bonded. When he exited the program upon moving to another city, he gave me a big hug and that was a moment that I will never forget.

One of the best parts of being a volunteer at School on Wheels is that you know you’re doing meaningful work. During my school year, I had to travel 40 minutes every week to my volunteering location, but it didn’t matter, because I know that I am helping children desperately in need of someone to be there for them.

Catherine Kieu

Region 1

Catherine is always keen to help and builds a rapport with her students in no time. She is very creative and inspires her students to spread their wings.

Manmeet Sodhi, Regional Coordinator

It has always been a goal of mine to be a hero to others. I saw this as an opportunity to inspire these kids to be heroes to others as well.

One of my students was hard of hearing. She was shy and sweet, and I encouraged her to teach me sign language as a way to build up her self-confidence. After the tutoring session, the coordinator at the shelter texted me that she was so happy and confident after the online tutoring. She was even chatting and showing people sign language. I was really proud of her and of myself as a tutor.

If you are considering becoming a volunteer tutor, don’t hesitate! Trust me, this experience is so valuable, you will cherish it for the rest of your life.

Oct 8

Students of the Month – Oct. 2020

Elijah

Age 12

Elijah loves the cosmos! He is even learning a bit of Russian because NASA Astronauts must speak Russian to work in the ISS (International Space Station). Elijah also really likes his new theatre class and we have a lot of fun reading aloud from a book School on Wheels sent us, The Lost Property Office.

Each time we meet, Elijah gets better and better at reading and using different inflections for the various characters. He is quite theatrically inclined!

Elijah is also beginning remote schooling at a NEW school this year, but takes it in stride and remains very positive. He reminds me of the brilliance and possibility of youth. Whether it’s learning Russian, being consistent with his lessons, or just saying YES to every lesson plan I proposed, Elijah has a faith in himself that is both innocent and infectious. I want to be more like Elijah!

Marisol Sacramento, Tutor

Steven

Age 8

Steven loves Spiderman, comics, tik-tok, beatboxing, and dancing. Though he sometimes struggles with staying focused, Steven wants to be a good reader.

It’s important to bookend each lesson with fun, no pressure activities, and some of the most fun I have working with Steven is when he uses this time to share some of his favorite dance moves with me!

Lihi Shadmi & Aviv Wilder, Tutor

Daniel

Age 17

On his free days, Daniel loves to skateboard. He picked it up as a hobby last December and hasn’t put it down since, averaging 2-3 hours a day of practice. It’s a great outlet for him, not only as exercise but mentally, learning to perform complex tricks. He has also been playing soccer ever since he was 6 years old and loves the sciences.

One of the biggest academic hurdles Daniel recently faced is transferring to a new school mid-year. Having to catch up on assignments the teacher had already provided other students in addition to all newly assigned homework, tests, and quizzes has been difficult to juggle all at once.

Daniel dreams of living the American dream of graduating college, having a family of his own, and owning a house one day. Daniel has taught me perseverance and that with yourself being the main motivator, every goal is achievable. I have learned that even when things get rough, the only way past all the hurdles in life is through them.

Jennyfer Han, Tutor

Hernan

Age 17

Hernan loves spending time with his family, doing community service through his school, participating in sports, and occasionally playing video games.

When I first met Hernan, he was struggling with poor grades and an overall lack of interest in school as a freshman. His grade point average at the end of freshman year was 1.42 due to a lack of motivation. Now, as he enters his final year of high school, his GPA is 3.4; he earned a GPA of 4.15 in his junior year!

Hernan would like to pursue a career in medicine and possibly become a surgeon. He has been motivated by some of the science related to the COVID-19 pandemic and he would like to pursue immunology or molecular biology as a major in College.

The ultimate lesson I have learned from Hernan is that we all have the potential to be successful. This is even more important for young students of Southern California in underserved communities. I am motivated to be a lifelong tutor and mentor to these students and I will encourage them to do so as well.

Tolulope Popoola , Tutor