Category: Our Volunteers

Dec 9

Tutors Needed for Special Assignment in Mentone and Riverside

We urgently need tutors at the following locations. Please read on for details on these placements.

Our House (Group home) – Mentone 

  • Group tutoring for one hour on Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Teens (boys and girls) – Provides shelter services for youth 11-17
  • Students can be there for a day or for a number of months
  • Students include run-aways, children who have been sex-trafficked, teens who are foster kids, etc.
  • The environment can be hectic during the time we tutor.
  • Students need encouragement to come to tutoring, need tutors who can inspire learning, be creative and think out of the box

Path of Life (Emergency shelter) – Riverside

  • Tutoring on Mondays and Wednesdays 
  • K-12 (boys and girls)
  • Emergency shelter; families are there for up to 90 days
  • Anywhere from 1 to 5 students may show up for tutoring sessions. Tutors should be flexible and proactive in engaging students to promote attendance.
  • Tutors need to be able to work well with children who are very active
  • Creativity is very important for tutors at this location

Important Skills for Tutors Considering this Placement

School on Wheels works with students experiencing homelessness. These students carry trauma related to their unstable housing and many other experiences they may have had. School on Wheels tutors provide academic support, but in many cases, it is the other elements of tutoring–mentorship, flexibility, and consistency–that truly help our students flourish. 

Due to the nature of the population we serve and the consistent struggles they face, it is the tutors who are flexible, adaptable, compassionate, and proactive who make the biggest impact. Our partner locations are often busy and may not provide the ideal environment for learning. Families may move in and out of a shelter quickly or they may stay for months. Our students desperately need caring, motivated role models to step in once a week and provide them with support and encouragement.

If interested, please contact Regional Coordinator, Stephanie Swenseid: sswenseid@schoolonwheels.org


If you possess the following skills, you may be a perfect fit for these tutoring locations:

  • Ability to build a strong rapport with students/parents/shelter staff. Students learn from who they like and trust. Building a strong relationship with them is the first step in opening the door and developing a curiosity to learn for a student. A large part of the impact tutors make at these types of locations is actually in the mentoring, self-esteem building, etc.
  • Emotional intelligence and a strong capacity for empathy.
  • Flexibility & adaptability. At many of our locations, kids/families are moving constantly. Tutors may see a student once or twice, or they may see them for months. The tutors who show up every week ready to take on whatever the day brings are our most valued volunteers.
  • Self-starter, able to work independently or in a group. We provide all of our tutors with training and consistent support. However, these specific locations are best for tutors who feel comfortable being proactive.
  • Interest in being a positive role model, mentor, and inspiration to your students.
  • Ability to handle chaotic environments and teach within those environments. Our locations are often busy and may not provide the ideal environment for learning. Tutoring requires the ability to work well in this kind of environment. 
Dec 9

Tutors Needed for Special Assignment in Upland

We urgently need tutors at the following location. Please read on for details on this placement.

Reach Out (Drop-in center) – Upland

This is a new engagement for School on Wheels. We are looking for two volunteers who have some experience creating something from the ground up and who truly believe in our mission. Volunteers should be comfortable devoting at least a year to helping School on Wheels develop and strengthen our budding relationship with this location, its staff, and the students who live there.

This location is a drop-in center for older students who have been living on the streets or couch surfing. As a result, the number of students who attend tutoring each week will not be guaranteed. We will be working to create a tutoring environment that will attract and engage students.

Important Skills for Tutors Considering this Placement

School on Wheels works with students experiencing homelessness. These students carry trauma related to their unstable housing and many other experiences they may have had. School on Wheels tutors provide academic support, but in many cases, it is the other elements of tutoring–mentorship, flexibility, and consistency–that truly help our students flourish. 

Due to the nature of the population we serve and the consistent struggles they face, it is the tutors who are flexible, adaptable, compassionate, and proactive who make the biggest impact. Our partner locations are often busy and may not provide the ideal environment for learning. Families may move in and out of a shelter quickly or they may stay for months. Our students desperately need caring, motivated role models to step in once a week and provide them with support and encouragement.

If interested, please contact Regional Coordinator, Stephanie Swenseid: sswenseid@schoolonwheels.org


If you possess the following skills, you may be a perfect fit for these tutoring locations:

  • Ability to build a strong rapport with students/parents/shelter staff. Students learn from who they like and trust. Building a strong relationship with them is the first step in opening the door and developing a curiosity to learn for a student. A large part of the impact tutors make at these types of locations is actually in the mentoring, self-esteem building, etc.
  • Emotional intelligence and a strong capacity for empathy.
  • Flexibility & adaptability. At many of our locations, kids/families are moving constantly. Tutors may see a student once or twice, or they may see them for months. The tutors who show up every week ready to take on whatever the day brings are our most valued volunteers.
  • Self-starter, able to work independently or in a group. We provide all of our tutors with training and consistent support. However, these specific locations are best for tutors who feel comfortable being proactive.
  • Interest in being a positive role model, mentor, and inspiration to your students.
  • Ability to handle chaotic environments and teach within those environments. Our locations are often busy and may not provide the ideal environment for learning. Tutoring requires the ability to work well in this kind of environment. 
Nov 18

The Most Rewarding Volunteer Work You’ve Never Heard Of

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.

Sep 15

Robots!

Walnut Robotics visits Skid Row Learning Center

A huge thanks to Walnut Robotics FTC Team 6325, also known as The Aluminati, who stopped by our Learning Center on Skid Row to engage our students and teach them all about robotics!

And in other Robot News…

Robotics Program for Girls at Skid Row Learning Center

This summer 15-year-old volunteer Sydney Morrow launched and ran a Robotics Program for Girls at our Skid Row Learning Center. Her project was funded by a grant from the AspireIT program and the National Center for Women’s & Information Technology.  The participating students built robots in small groups and learned how to program them. Sydney plans to continue tutoring at SRLC and working with students on coding and robotics. Thank you, Sydney, for your commitment to our students!

Aug 29

Meet Angie & Allison

“Give the tutoring sessions time. If they feel that connecting and relating with the children is difficult at first then allow time for walls to break down. These children have endured more than we may ever understand and it takes time for them to allow new people in their life. Keep showing kindness and respect to your student and always encourage them on their studying. It is amazing what you can do for their confidence in showing them positivity with their work and letting them know you are proud of them.”

Allison, School on Wheels Tutor

Growing up school was a difficult thing for Angie. “I switched school so many times and it became very hard,” she says. “I got depressed with the constant change and eventually fell very behind in school, so I just gave up and would not show up for school.”

Angie spent a great deal of her youth staying at different foster homes. She would eventually spend six years with a family. However, Angie’s foster Dad passed. Things became complicated and she switched homes again. Her depression grew, but through this pain, she found motivation by focusing on her education and finding purpose in wanting to help others like her.

Currently, Angie is at a group home. With the school year coming to an end and graduation looming, she needed to complete her math credits quickly, a daunting task as math has long been a difficult subject for Angie. She was connected with School on Wheels and tutor Alison Ochoa who focus exclusively on Angie’s math. “My goal during our tutoring sessions was to take each math course one section at a time. We go over multiple problems and ensure that she takes her quiz and understands each individual problem, even if it meant refreshing on prior skills.” 

This practical approach worked and Angie completed her credits in time to graduate. Alison continues to explain, “she has exceeded my own expectations.” 

Angie and Allison will continue their tutoring relationship as Angie begins college this fall. Angie now has confidence in her abilities and knows that she has a great support system for her educational goals, as well as a friend, in Allison. 

Angie’s future goal is to be a social worker. After going through the foster care system herself, she understands how important it is for kids to have someone they can trust and depend on.

“Keep reaching out to find someone that can help you and that you trust,” is the wisdom Angie would like to share with other School on Wheel students. “Believe that there is someone out there for you to trust. Stay motivated and work on building up your self-esteem so you can apply that confidence with your education.” 

Already Angie is off to a great start of helping other kids.

Jul 1

Words Changing Worlds

Guest post by volunteer online tutor Sanskriti Reddy

“I don’t really like to read.” Since joining School on Wheels, I heard this statement an alarming number of times. As an avid reader, it confused me. What was the problem? I soon realized that part of the reason students don’t like to read is that they simply don’t know how to pick the right books.

That is why I created Words Changing Worlds. This website helps students discover new books through carefully selected lists, quizzes, and student-written reviews.

After all, an important part of reading is not only understanding the text but connecting with it. With Words Changing Worlds, I hope students find they can do just that.

Visit Words Changing Worlds at www.wordschangingworlds.com

All the way from Texas, Sanskriti Reddy has served as an Online Tutor for over a year and a half.