Category: Workshops

Feb 1

Building Resiliency and Cross Cultural Connections

In this workshop on cultural awareness and volunteer resiliency, School on Wheels Trainer and Regional Specialist Cody Reed focuses on strategies and methods to better equip tutors to work with our diverse student body and to effectively and conscientiously deal with challenges they might encounter. Using his experience in the Peace Corps, Cody discusses cultural sensitivity, including positive ways to communicate cross-culturally and build connections and trust with students of disparate backgrounds.

About the Presenter: Cody has a cultural anthropology degree from Cal State Fullerton and joined SOW in 2016 after working three years total in Sub-Saharan Africa (in Uganda with Krochet Kids and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi helping to improve opportunities for women and girls).

Oct 26

Intro to Group Tutoring and the Digital Learning Model

In this workshop, tutor coordinator/tutor Chris Ruoff presents the group tutoring model in both shelter and school environments. He introduces you to what to expect as well as discusses best practices, tools and resources, and how to prepare for success. Chris also examines the digital learning model and how it can be used to supplement traditional homework tutoring. This workshop is intended for tutors that are currently involved in group tutoring or are considering this as an option.

About the Presenter: Chris Ruoff has been a volunteer tutor coordinator and tutor for School on Wheels for the past year, exclusively working in group environments at shelters and a school. He helped launch School on Wheels’ first digital learning after-school program in Orange County at an elementary school in Santa Ana. He is also an accomplished business development manager, public speaker, and community leader. Chris is very passionate about giving back and tutoring our students in need.

Sep 1

Back to School Resources

It’s time for back to school, and School on Wheels has important tips to prepare you for a new year of tutoring. Join staff to learn about best practices for easing your student into the school year. Topics include setting goals, getting organized, and updates for the 2017-2018 calendar year. We share ideas for grades K-12 and review the resources currently available on our website.

View/Download Slideshow of the Workshop (PDF)

Aug 10

Tutoring Commercially Sexually Exploited Children – CSEC 101

Young people who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation may have certain behaviors and special needs, and it is important to understand the challenges and trauma they have faced. In this workshop, child welfare consultant and organizer Miranda Sheffield gives School on Wheels tutors the information they need to successfully tutor children and youth rescued from CSEC scenarios. She is joined by a sexual trafficking survivor, Rachel Thomas, who discusses her experience. This workshop is specifically designed to inform School on Wheels tutors who are working with or may be working with CSEC students.

About the presenters: Miranda Sheffield has spent the last 10 years working within the child welfare community. Early on, she worked with Los Angeles County DCFS to promote youth engagement and accountability with youth living in group homes. In the last five years she worked with the Children’s Law Center supporting youth in extended foster care. Miranda helped create CLC’s Peer Advocate program, giving clients an opportunity to work with peer advocates who have had direct experience growing up in foster care. She was a part of CLC-specialized CSEC team, which included attorneys and case managers providing legal and social support to youth in the life. Miranda has transitioned out of her role at CLC and currently works as a consultant, providing training to those in the child welfare community.

Former music video model and sex trafficking survivor Rachel Thomas is a dynamic educator who speaks from the heart and aims at the head. With a Masters in Education from UCLA and over 10 years’ experience in teaching and mentoring, Rachel co-founded Sowers Education Group to sow seeds of sex trafficking awareness and survivor empowerment.

Rachel was a junior at Emory University when she unknowingly met a trafficker: a professional and well-spoken ‘modeling agent’. He had business cards and a portfolio of contracts with beautiful models of all ethnicities. He groomed her with high-quality, all-expense paid photo shoots and legitimate modeling work in various music videos and magazines. Then, after he had collected a W9 form from Rachel (including her parents’ address and SSN), the relationship became dangerous. He began forcing her to have sex with buyers, threatening to kill her and her family if she didn’t obey. He became physically and psychologically abusive, ushering Rachel into the dark world of sex slavery. Thankfully, the police and FBI were eventually able to help Rachel, and the trafficker’s dozens of other victims, to escape this devastating situation. As Rachel continues to overcome and understand her experience, she is “turning a mess into a message” that will spread prevention and empower victims.

Since 2012, Rachel has reached over 36,000 live audience members and millions more through numerous media outlets including The T.D. Jakes Show, The New York Times Upfront Magazine and ABC’s Newsmakers. Rachel was also honored by Congressman Ed Royce of California’s 39th district and Los Angeles Supervisor Don Knabe for her leadership and trafficking prevention efforts. To learn more about Sowers or Rachel Thomas, please visit

Jul 28

What to Do When There’s Nothing to Do

In this workshop, experienced tutor John Reece presents creative ideas for group and 1-on-1 tutoring. Often, students do not have homework or may be reluctant to do homework or more traditional lessons. An innovative, fresh approach to target student interests and get them engaged can make a world of difference. This workshop is appropriate for tutors working with students of any age, but may be especially useful for grades 6-12.

About the Presenter: John Reece is a retired sailor, having spent 20 years in the US Navy during and after the Vietnam era. He is also a retired Aerospace Logistics Engineer and Manager of Technical Publications and Training. Since his retirement he has been focusing on improving his public speaking skills with Toastmasters and looking for ways to help young people with their schoolwork, particularly with math.