Today I’m happy to share a short video I made about an extraordinary LA artist named Angela Sanchez. Angela is the author of a children’s book series called “Scruffy and Egg”. The series is based on stories that Angela and her father would tell each other as they experienced homeless together while Angela was still in high school. Angela’s stories reach children and adults alike and place dignity and empathy at the forefront of the conversation on homelessness. I’m truly grateful to Angela for being so open with me and for allowing me to tell a small part of her story.
Our students living in shelters, motels, group homes, and on the streets of Southern California are about to start what will be one of the most challenging school years of their young lives and the odds not stacked in their favor.
Distance learning has been a challenge for all students and their families, but for the estimated one out of 20 children in California experiencing homelessness, the challenges can seem insurmountable.
The pandemic has intensified the economic disparities, putting the neediest students at a further disadvantage.
“I am very scared and terrified for our families and our students,” said Charles Evans, the executive director of School on Wheels. “They’ve had to overcome so much with being homeless and then you add that other layer of distance learning.”
The way we serve our students may look a little different this year; still, our mission is the same. Watch Executive Director Charles Evans and President of the Board Josh Fein talk about 2019 and the changes 2020 has brought and read messages from our students, parents, and volunteers. Your work as a tutor, donor, cheerleader, and advocate for kids devastated by homelessness is more important now than ever. Please read about the impact you have made in our annual report,
In late June, 40 desktop models were wiped of their data, sanitized, boxed up and sent to Children’s Bureau, a Los Angeles-area nonprofit that supports at-risk children and their parents. Another 30 laptops went to School on Wheels, which provides free tutoring and mentoring services for homeless children in six counties, including Orange County.
School on Wheels Executive Director Charles Evans said homeless students have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic, as the shift toward distance learning has removed personal connections and made technology ownership essential.
“A lot of our students are already behind as it is,” Evans said. “When they don’t have access to a teacher or to resources, it makes it a lot easier for them to fall even further behind.”
Since shelter-in-place restrictions began, School on Wheels has had to find creative ways to rebuild its erstwhile in-person tutoring model into a virtual one. The organization is actively seeking funds and hardware to accommodate students living in and learning from motels, shelters and vehicles.
Welcome to tutoring in the time of Coronavirus. As School on Wheels tutors move online in droves, we rounded up some of our most experienced online tutors to share their stories and give advice to those transitioning.
John Reece has tutored our students both in-person and online. His unique view of the world makes him an ideal tutor for older students, and they’ve always got something positive to say after working with him. In this episode, John talks about his journey to tutoring online, living history, and teaching students to question everything, among other things. Hold onto your seats, this one’s a wild ride!
Note: the audio quality is a bit rough in this one. The interviews are recorded over wifi, which we can all agree is temperamental at times. Thanks for sticking with us!
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