Tens of thousands of children and youth have received support from School on Wheels. Tutoring and mentoring relationships can last for years or just for months, but we never underestimate the difference our volunteers make in the lives of the students we serve.
Diana Camarillo recently visited our booth at a volunteer recruitment fair at Mount St Mary’s University in Los Angeles and proceeded to tell us her story:
“I was homeless for about two years, living in three different shelters. I was matched with a tutor when I was twelve because I struggled with language arts and composition. My old backpack was really beat up. School on Wheels gave me a really beautiful new Jansport backpack.with all new supplies inside. We worked together for six months before my family moved into permanent housing.
At 16 I got a part-time job because I knew then that I wanted something better. I decided to work hard at school to get into college and get a degree, so I could have a career rather than just a job.
With financial aid and working two jobs I now have my own apartment and am finishing my first year at Mount St. Mary’s College.”
We contacted Diana’s tutor Carol Yee who was thrilled to know how well Diana was doing seven years later.
“I am so happy for Diana and remember her very well. She was mature for her age and just delightful to work with. I am very proud of her and not a bit surprised with her success.”
Diana has come a long way from where she started and she has this advice:
“I would say to any student experiencing homelessness to keep working hard at school. When I was homeless I didn’t think college was an option. I didn’t try hard at school and didn’t get great grades, so I wasn’t able to get a full scholarship to college. Now I have to work two jobs and finance myself. But I am proud of my achievements and grateful to organizations like School on Wheels and Puente College Prep Program for helping me understand the importance of education.”