April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month and every year School on Wheels hosts appreciation events throughout Southern California. We invite our volunteer tutors and staff and get together to celebrate. It is a great opportunity for volunteers to meet each other and share stories about our students and their successes. School on Wheels volunteers are the best! They dedicate their time to tutoring homeless students and ask nothing in return. During these annual appreciation events, each Regional Coordinator awards volunteers who spend 100 or more hours volunteering with a Presidential Volunteer Service Award. This year we awarded 250 volunteers with this prestigious award. To see the full list of volunteers you can click here.
Above are photos from events hosted in Ventura, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Inland Empire.
School on Wheels is always in need of volunteers ages 12 and older that want to make a positive difference in the life of a homeless student. We work with school age children that are living in temporary or homeless situations and provide them with one-on-one tutoring, backpacks, school supplies and all the tools they need to succeed in school. If you have one hour a week or more to spare and would like to join our amazing volunteer team please consider applying to become a volunteer tutor with our organization today! You can go to our volunteer page here to find out more and apply.
Chris Kuritzkes is a pre-K teacher and recently moved to California from Philadelphia. She read a flyer about School on Wheels and was intrigued to find out more. She trained as a tutor and was recently matched with Giselle (10). Chris says that Giselle is a very hard worker and enjoys learning. Since Giselle loves to learn, she is excited to review and further explore the concepts she is learning about in the classroom.
Chris said that she was completely humbled by the outpouring of resources and the positive impacts School on Wheels has on its students and families. “I am honored to be a tutor with a program that offers hope and makes a difference in the lives of so many.”
If you would like to make a difference like Chris, click below!
“I enjoy tutoring math. When I first applied, math tutors were in short supply. Agnes Stevens (Founder of School on Wheels) referred to me as the math guy.”
Dwight Liu has been a School on Wheels tutor for 15 years! He maintains his one-hour-a-week commitment and continues to volunteer because he finds it rewarding and feels better about himself when he is making a difference. And what a difference. We estimate that he has tutored over 100 students in his time with us!
“I tutored one student for around three years until he graduated high school. He had a heart of gold and a wonderful attitude. I was so glad when his family finally found permanent housing…So many of my other students have been brief encounters, but that is the nature of tutoring homeless kids.”
Dwight credits tutoring for School on Wheels for making him a much better tutor to his daughter – increasing his patience with her and giving him new teaching tools to help explain things. Many of the students he has worked with lack basic skills and have very difficult lives. While he still sometimes finds it hard to get his students to focus or understand concepts, he gets the support he needs from the School on Wheels online workshops and staff.
Dwight tutors at a shelter only a few minutes from his work. His company, Covington Capital Management, supports volunteer activities with donations to their employees’ favorite nonprofits. Thank you, Dwight, for your years of service!
Ryleigh is 12 ¼ years old, and her favorite flavor ice-cream is birthday cake! She would like to be a nurse, like her mom, because “Being a nurse is the best thing because you get to help people.”
Rachel Bravo, Ryleigh’s tutor’s favorite ice cream is pistachio. Ryleigh says Rachel is “funny, nice and kind.”
Rachel has been a volunteer tutor for 4 years. “I tell people about School on Wheels all the time! I even managed to persuade one of my coworkers at Ventura County Credit Union to tutor, and she loves it.”
Rachel and Ryleigh have worked together, mostly on math, for about a year. Although they meet at a kitchen table in a busy shelter, they still manage to focus on school and studies.
When Rachel wanted to do more in her community, she discovered School on Wheels online and knew she was able to commit to an hour-a-week schedule. She loves her 10-minute commute and that Ryleigh is always ready and waiting for her.
“It is hard enough to help a child succeed in school and navigate getting into college when there are two parents, with two incomes, living in their own home. Once a child falls behind, the obstacles just multiply. I also understand that no matter how prevalent texting and social media is – mastering good grammar, spelling and reading comprehension will never be obsolete!”
Click below to become a School on Wheels tutor like Rachel!
Heather Hemmens is an actress best known for her roles in The Dukes of Hazzard (2005) and If Loving You is Wrong (2014). But better to known to School on Wheels as amazing tutor, volunteer and friend. She is celebrating her 1 year anniversary as a School on Wheels tutor working with homeless students, in this short, yet powerful video.