Category: Our Volunteers

Apr 28

Dwight, The Math Guy

“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!

Are you Mathematically minded like Dwight?

Apr 27

Rachel & Ryleigh

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!


Oct 4

Heather Hemmens Talks About Why Homeless Children Need our Help

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.

Jun 20

Tutor story– Jacklin DieBold

To become a School on Wheels volunteer, Jacklin DieBold needed to really WANT to tutor a child.  She lives in the Santa Barbara area and traveled thirty miles to attend the Tutor Training in Ventura. Without a computer, she also needed to find a way to log her hours each week.  With determination, Jackie asked her grandson to log her hours on his computer. Now she is thinking of asking him to tutor with her.

Helping children and youth learn is natural for Jackie, who is a retired teacher. She began her teaching career in Canada in a country school with a class of students in first through third grades. When her family moved to the United States, Jackie continued teaching a variety of different grades from kindergarten through high school.  

Last October Jackie was introduced to her first School on Wheels student, a grade school boy living at a community shelter. Jackie was present when the family faced the difficult loss of the boy’s younger sibling.  During the tragedy, she stayed in touch with her student’s teacher to see how he was coping; she also showed her care to her student’s mother. Now her student’s mother is learning to speak some English so she can communicate with Jackie. Jackie has built a bridge of support with her student and his family.

According to Jackie, tutoring has helped her remain humble and enriched her life.  Jackie says that as a School on Wheels volunteer she has seen some of the difficulties homeless families face.  She described a time when her student didn’t attend his tutoring session because he and his mother missed getting to the bus on time. However, Jackie also enjoys seeing her student do better in school.  He has joined a soccer team after school, loving the chance to participate with his team members. Although this boy has suffered much loss, he has met a friend in Jackie and is learning that he has the ability to grow and succeed at school.   

Oct 5

Zoo on Wheels

The Girl Scout Gold Award Project represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Kaitlyn Li dedicated her project to School on Wheels by creating this video field trip of the Los Angeles Zoo together with a post-quiz for our students to learn and explore. If you are a tutor with us, please feel free to use this video and attached quiz during one of your tutoring sessions.

Thank you, Kaitlyn, for all your hard work and for providing a chance for our students to tour the Los Angeles Zoo through this video. Kaitlyn will be taking a group of our Skid Row Learning Center students on an in-person tour of the Los Angeles Zoo in the summer of 2016. Thank you so much, Kaitlyn!

Video Quiz (PDF)

Quiz Answer Key (PDF)