Every month we highlight our star students and tutors. I am always amazed at the sheer tenacity and resilience of our students and the caring and passion of our volunteers. Please take a few minutes to read about Kaliyah who is in 6th Grade, and described by her tutor, Vivek, as brilliant, impressively curious and clever. Vivek has been a tutor since 2014. When he moved to Michigan to attend medical school, he continued to volunteer as an online tutor. Miles away, he continues to make a difference every single week.
Our students live with chaos and instability every day. They experience varying levels of trauma; some have been victims of violence and abuse; many more have witnessed it. Our studentsexperience high rates of health problems. They are sick more often than other children. They also go hungry at twice the rate of other children and have three times more emotional and behavioral problems than their housed peers.
And yet, when you read about mother and daughter tutors Susan Edelman and Clara Pitsker and how much they care about their students, or Jason Lee whose student encourages him to pursue his own dreams, you will understand that our students are fortunate to have such committed and compassionate people in their lives.
I’m inspired when I read about our star students and volunteers. I’m inspired by all our students, volunteers and donors. In my mind, you’re all stars. Thank you for caring. Your support is helping make a significant difference in so many lives.
You helped make last year the best yet for School on Wheels and our students. Thank you! 3,491 homeless students in Southern California were tutored by 2,223 volunteers in 2015. How wonderful is that? We awarded scholarships to 19 awesome students, presented the prestigious President’s Volunteer Service Award to 124 volunteers, provided backpacks, schools supplies, uniforms, bus tokens and computers to over 7,000 homeless kids, and, we raised over $2,000,000 in funds.
The only way we can accomplish any of this work is because of you, our amazing volunteers and our wonderful, most generous donors. At a time when poor and homeless children are falling through the education cracks faster than we can save them, it is a true testament to your spirit and character that so many of you come together to help homeless students. California has the largest population of homeless students in the country and twice the rate of homeless students as the national average.
Fewer than 25% of these homeless students will graduate from high school.
We know that education improves lives and that investing in education wisely is an economic imperative for this country. Thank you for being there for our students. They need you. We need you. Please continue to advocate for them – tell your families, friends, neighbors, colleagues about how many homeless children there are in the United States (2.5 million) and how invisible and forgotten they are. They have no power and no voice in our society; but you do, and you are helping to change that.
We started off the new year with a positive note. Thanks to 21st Century Solutions, NBC4 and Telemundo 52, School on Wheels received a $50,000 grant for our digital learning centers.
Over 200 students also had a blast when they met Santa at our Annual Holiday Party and enjoyed an amazing lunch on the beach. 30 School on Wheels students were the guests of honor at The LA Lakers Christmas day game. They walked out onto the court with the players and received holiday gifts. Students from our Skid Row Learning Center enjoyed time on the ice at the Pasadena skating rink thanks to our friend, Lexie Looker, and The Looker Foundation.
Sofia is six years old. She’s not sure where – or if – she and her family will sleep tonight. She’s been in three different schools this year, trying to adjust each time to new curricula, new teachers, new classmates. She is overwhelmed by stress and fear. Sofia is one of our students living in the extreme poverty of homelessness. She is one of the 163,000 homeless children in just the school districts we serve in Southern California. The barriers preventing her from getting an education are enormous.
We knock down those barriers – our volunteer tutors provide educational support to homeless children from kindergarten through grade 12. We give hope and a chance to learn to these, our most vulnerable and forgotten children. Our volunteers and the relationships they form with the students they serve make an enormous long-term difference in thousands of young lives.
Please consider a tax-deductible donation today so we can give homeless students like Sofia the hope they need to reach their full potential. You can donate online through our donation page or by check to:
School on Wheels, Inc., P. O. Box 23371, Ventura, CA 93002.
School on Wheels is the only organization that brings tutors to homeless kids. We can’t make a homeless child’s education a perfect one, but with your help we can fill the gaps and be a constant reminder to them that there are people who care about them and their education. Please help us improve the life of a homeless child by making the most generous, tax-deductible contribution you can today at our secure website.
On behalf of School on Wheels and our homeless students, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support of our work.
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
I have always loved the Thanksgiving holiday, but never truly appreciated it until I became a volunteer for School on Wheels. Like most people, I thought of Thanksgiving as filled with food, family, and friends. Now when I think of Thanksgiving, I reflect on the words…thanks and giving. I never felt the true power of gratitude and giving until I saw what your support, encouragement and generosity have done for thousands of homeless children in our communities. Because of you, a kindergartner can learn to read; because of you, a fifth grader will be able to go to school because she has a uniform and a brand new backpack; because of you, a high school student can solve a complex problem with his very own tutor.
We celebrate this time of giving thanks and are grateful that we have friends like you whose compassion and generosity allow us to reach out to the ever-increasing number of homeless students in our communities. Please know how much we value your continued support. Thank you most of all for the hope you have given to our homeless students so that they too can have a chance for success through education.