In 2019, we introduced Virtual Field Trips to eight tutoring locations. These sessions expose students to places and ideas that they otherwise may have never encountered, allowing us to expand their worldview despite geographic and financial barriers. We are utilizing two types of Virtual Field Trips – PORTS and Peace Corps Global Connections.
The PORTS program from California State Parks connects park rangers to students via video chat. Rangers in parks all over the state give students a virtual tour of their park, explain how State Parks protect important ecology, and even show students wildlife in real-time. So far, we’ve taken elementary students in Anaheim on a tour of Hearst Castle, learned about paleontology in the Anza-Borrego Desert with students at a South LA shelter, and strolled through the sequoias in Northern California with students at the Orange County Rescue Mission.
The Peace Corps Global Connections program connects Peace Corps volunteers around the world with students in the US via video chat or other methods. These volunteers are able to impart cultural knowledge and inform students about what the Peace Corps does. At the end of 2019, a volunteer in Guatemala spoke to high school students at a youth shelter in Glendora about how she’s improving sanitation policy at a local Guatemalan school. Shortly after, a volunteer in Cambodia spoke to students at a shelter in Long Beach about teaching Cambodian students and handling cultural differences.
Seeing our students’ minds open to all the world’s possibilities is truly a joy. We look forward to connecting more of our students to Virtual Field Trips in 2020!
School on Wheels is proud to bring you a brand new podcast about tutoring, homelessness, and the experiences of our volunteers, staff, and students.
With the decade swiftly coming to a close, we decided the time has come for our tutor education to take on a newer format–a shorter, more playful, more digestible format. In this podcast, you will have a chance to hear the stories of tutors who have overcome challenges with their students. You will hear interviews with experts on education, child development, and homelessness. You will hear sound bites from some of our students. Hopefully, you will hear something that helps or inspires you.
Join our Training and Development Coordinator, Katie Brennecke, as she introduces you all to our new Executive Director, Charles Evans, in a short-and-sweet interview. Enjoy!
Music: Antidepresseur by [friendzoned] | https://soundcloud.com/friendzonedbeats Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en_US
The college application process can be daunting for high school students and a challenge for those trying to guide students through the process. In particular, the application essay can be a critical piece of that puzzle. In this webinar, Brien Gorham walks us through how to help students parse the language of their prompts, strategies for structuring and organizing these essay (including best tips for using anecdotes), and methods for helping students find themes in the stories of their lives.
About the presenter:
Brien Gorham has over twenty years experience as a high school English teacher. After graduating from Villanova University, Brien taught in several public schools in New Jersey before moving to Seattle, where he spent six years teaching the Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. He currently lives in Los Angeles as a freelance writer and video editor.
Thanks to all our artists who participated in this year’s contest! We loved seeing all your amazing submissions and hope you will continue to create art year-round.
The winners of 2019 School on Wheels Holiday Art Contest are Mia and Keiley! Congratulations to all the artists, it was a very difficult decision and we know you all worked very hard! In addition to posting on our website, we will also be posting on our Facebook page next week. You can enjoy all the students’ contributions by scrolling through the gallery above.
Guest post by School on Wheels Ambassador Victor Maldonado
There are enough children without homes in Los Angeles to fill Dodger Stadium. Yet, when we think of homelessness, children aren’t who we typically imagine. With over 65,000 students without homes in Los Angeles County alone, why does child homelessness go so grossly unnoticed? The answer is simple: out of sight, out of mind. These are children who are living in shelters, motels, group foster homes, vehicles, and on the streets. The common thread that connects these children is a lack of consistent education.
I am proud to volunteer with an organization that bridges these gaps in education, giving children experiencing homelessness a fighting chance at a stable life—School on Wheels. Their approach may seem modest: tutor a child for one hour per week. However, the impact on that child’s life is incalculable—it provides these children with the structure and consistency they need. That hour reiterates to them that they aren’t forgotten, that they do matter, and that they can change their circumstances.
And once a child believes in themselves, the hope and optimism they carry is truly inspirational. In January 2018 a student of mine was struck in the crossfire of a drive-by. In the weeks following, I recall trying to be sympathetic to his condition by telling him we could just play games until he felt better. Knowing he had the SATs coming up, he responded, “Games won’t get me into college. We’ll work on math sections.” To contextualize things, this was a student who, not even a year prior, would constantly vocalize that he might as well “pick out a box to live in now” because he felt he had no chance of attending college. It was at that precise moment that I realized how much of an impact that hour a week can have on the self-esteem of a child in need.
School on Wheels is the only non-profit organization in Southern California that focuses on the education of children experiencing homelessness. As such, its’ success, as well as the success of the children it serves, is directly related to its number of volunteers. Sadly, that number is often limited by people’s misconceptions on whether they’re “qualified” to volunteer. In reality, the only obstacle is a person’s willingness to volunteer.
Regardless of your age, background or level of education, your mere presence in a child’s life can be transformative. They will never forget that someone cared enough to show up once a week during the most turbulent time of their lives. Get started today.