I am so sad to tell you that Agnes Stevens, Founder of School on Wheels, died last night after a long illness. For those of us who knew and loved Agnes, this is a huge loss. She was one of those very special human beings who inspired everyone around her. She had such courage and the vision to see beyond all the road blocks in life. She had an unwavering belief in and passion for School on Wheels. Agnes always said it takes so little to make a difference in a child’s life. She certainly did that for the thousands of homeless children whose lives have been touched by School on Wheels.
She was an extraordinary woman who made a lasting difference in our lives and this world. We all wanted to be a part of making Agnes’ dream of helping homeless children come true. We will miss her every day.
When we developed our three-year strategic plan at the end of 2011, we established an ambitious and audacious goal to double the number of students we tutor. And with your help, encouragement and support, we did!
You made last year the best yet for School on Wheels and all our students. 3,129 homeless students in Southern California were tutored by 1,816 volunteers in 2014! We awarded scholarships to 12 outstanding students, presented the prestigious President’s Volunteer Service Award to 167 remarkable volunteers, provided backpacks, schools supplies, uniforms, bus tokens and computers to over 6,000 homeless kids, and you, our kind and very generous friends donated over $1.5 million in gifts.
We can only accomplish this work because of you. With one in every 30 kids homeless in America, we have much to do. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the magnitude of the numbers, but we can’t forget that each of those statistics is a child, a child who is scared and lonely and falling behind in school. You provide a critical benefit to that child, one that literally has the power to change the course of her life. You enrich and make a lasting difference in the lives of thousands of homeless children.
A native of South Carolina and Florida, Emily Austin found her way to the City of Angels through her passion for the arts, film and television. She lived her dreams while working in entertainment marketing for studios such as Paramount, Sony and Disney. She was extremely smart, a skilled artist, and most importantly a wonderful friend. She was fascinated with the “possibilities” around her and craved learning new things every day. It was rare to see her without a book in hand, or a Film/TV series playing. She was a huge fan of science fiction and wanted to be on the wait list for the first trip to Mars.
Emily had a great compassion and empathy for people in need, especially homeless families and children. In honor of this glorious girl, “The Emily Austin Project” has been created.
Please donate what you can to support School on Wheels. Any time or monetary contribution is beyond appreciated.
This presentation covers some of the challenges working with students in group homes. The presenters for this workshop have tutored at multiple group homes for boys and bring their expertise in addressing subjects such as how to build rapport, finding a student’s grade level, creating relationships with shelter staff, dealing with behavior issues and reluctance, and exploring practical and fulfilling options for the students’ futures. Many tutors worry that working with teens is too challenging. This presentation dispels that myth and offers helpful solutions to many of the issues School on Wheels tutors face.
About the Hosts:
Mathangi Suresh recently graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Biology. Pursuing a career in surgery, Mathangi is planning on continuing her education in medical school. Mathangi loves interacting with people and knew that becoming a tutor would allow her to do that and make a difference in the lives of others. Mathangi joined School On Wheels as a volunteer tutor and began tutoring in group homes for boys in the Chino Valley. Through her experiences, Mathangi has enjoyed teaching as well as learning from her students and is proud to be a part of School On Wheels.
Song Jeong is in her final year of college at California State University, Fullerton and is pursuing a career in Special Education and School Administration. Song joined School On Wheels this past summer as a volunteer tutor and began tutoring in group homes for boys in the Chino Valley. From her experiences, Song has learned how to build a rapport with her students and tackle behavior issues. Song knows her tutoring experiences are helping to build the foundation for her future career.
Loreena Garcia is the School on Wheels Regional Coordinator for East San Gabriel Valley and western San Bernardino County. Loreena has worked in the non-profit field for over ten years, previously with Special Olympics Southern California, Fair Housing Foundation, Opportunity House Homeless Shelter, and Child S.H.A.R.E. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in History and Liberal Arts from the University of Dallas and is currently finishing up a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Loreena has worked with the homeless and at-risk populations for many years, and is an active volunteer and advocate for foster children and individuals with intellectual disabilities.
About the Presentation Content Creator:
Amber Christon is an aspiring epidemiologist currently majoring in Biochemistry and Public Health at Berkeley City College with plans to transfer to a four year university. Amber joined School On Wheels this past summer and began volunteering in group homes for boys in Chino Valley. Amber enjoys the challenges working with teens brings and has learned a lot about building relationships and public service from her experiences.
Delta Kappa Gamma Alpha Upsilon Chapter President Robin Williams and co-chair Penny Schopflin (both former La Canada Unified School District teachers) are shown above with school supplies collected by DKG Alpha Upsilon Chapter members for its fall donation to the School on Wheels program. This picture comes from a La Cañada Valley Sun article.