These past couple of months have been filled with events for our students, honoring our volunteers and the recent release of our annual report. We kicked off the month by taking some of our students to One Gun Ranch in Malibu where the students got to learn about biodynamic farming techniques, how to grow fruit and vegetables and got to meet some wonderful animals. School on Wheels spent the last couple months honoring the wonderful volunteers who dedicate their time tutoring homeless students, 250 volunteers received Presidential Service Awards. One of our students, Taree Mayfield, 13, visited Sweden and met Queen Silvia last month. Taree is a new jury member of the World Children’s Prize, Taree represents children who are homeless and children who help homeless children. Lasty, a huge thank you to our monthly donor, the group from Brea Olinda High School who are raising funds for School on Wheels. How great it is to see kids helping kids!
April was a fulfilling month for School on Wheels! We received a generous grant from our donor of the month, The Eisner Foundation, committing to fund transformative intergenerational programs that address inequality and injustice. In the news, our students got to enjoy yoga at the USC Athletic Department with USC Football Community Service Award Winner Zach Banner and Uprising Yoga! Also, the program administrator here at School on Wheels, Ian Chan, ran the Los Angeles Marathon to raise awareness for the homeless children that we serve, watch the video here.
We had a great start in March with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ventura where students and their families got to ride the bus in the parade. Thank you to Ventura County Credit Union for sponsoring School on Wheels during the event. This month we also had some amazing star students and volunteers. Ashley, who is in third grade, was quiet and evasive in the beginning. Over time, Ashley has become quite the young academic! One of our star volunteers, Nargis Saidzadah, has been with School on Wheels for almost a year now. In her own words: “It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made to join such a beautiful community.”
We started off the month in the news. Pat Harvey of CBSLA highlighted the work we do for homeless children and youth in Skid Row. You can watch the full video here. School on Wheels also hired a new Regional Coordinator in Ventura County, Angie Allmendinger. Click here to read the full article in the Ventura Breeze. Thank you to our donor of the month Peet’s Coffee, for picking us for their Holiday Donation program. We have lots of Peet’s gift cards to give to our volunteer tutors too. We also had some great star students and volunteers. One of our star students, Vincent (9th Grade) really improved his grades since starting his online tutoring, and has developed an outstanding attitude toward learning as well! Star volunteer Deborah Myers said “education has always been important to me. Someone once told me, “Never stop learning,” and I took that message to heart. When I came across a notice for School on Wheels, it seemed like a perfect fit for my interests.”
In December we ended the year with a bang! The LA Times stopped by the Skid Row Learning Center and interviewed Allison Maldonado, the instructor at the center. You can watch the full video here. We also got a surprise visit from our good friend Kevin Bacon, actor, and founder, of the nonprofit SixDegrees.org. He was interviewed by one of our students for KCAL9 News and even danced with students and sang along as they played Karaoke!
A Big thank you to our donor of the month the Joyful Giving team who hosted this year’s fundraiser. 300 supporters bought tickets to The Sip of SouthBay at The Shade Hotel in Redondo Beach and bid on our live and silent auctions raising over $150,000 for our program. We also had some amazing star students and volunteers. Nate 5th Grade has gone from struggling to add to mastering multiplication. Even on days when he feels overwhelmed, Nate never gives up. One of our Star Volunteers, Sheryl Luttrel is a dedicated tutor and has been with us for almost three years now. She is always willing to jump in and help wherever is needed.
In October Regional Director, Charles Evans and School on Wheels students got a surprise visit from sports legends Derek Jeter, Kevin Durant and JJ Watt. These sports celebrities are part of a campaign to celebrate courageous people pursuing their dreams, watch the full video here. Our donor of the month was longtime donor and friend The Dora F Levit Fund for People, who offered to match all donations up to $60,000 in a challenge grant for the month of September. With the support of 139 donors, we not only met but smashed that goal, raising $70,000.