In a recent interview with Selena Rivera of Hoy our CEO Catherine Meek shared the core mission of School on Wheels and the challenges faced by the students we serve.
Currently more than 345,000 homeless children reside in California, and nearly 65,000 of them are enrolled in Los Angeles County schools. Many of these children live in motels, shelters and even cars.
Due to their unstable economic status, they often change areas, which makes it difficult for them to attend school.
And then how can these children get the education they need?
This is where Schools on Wheels (SOW), in Spanish “Escuelas Rodantes”, take action, says Catherine Meek, executive director of the nonprofit organization.
“They are helped with backpacks, with supplies, they are registered in the schools and if they can not attend, they are given tutoring, but not only that. The main commitment of the organization is to give it hope, “says Meek. Since the recession began in 2007, the numbers of homeless children has increased and the need for more volunteers is critical.
A recent in-depth article by La Opinión highlights the many challenges faced by the students that School on Wheels serves, right now more than ever.
In the midst of the housing crisis experienced by thousands of people in Los Angeles County, there are approximately 17,258 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) who do not have a permanent home to live in, and 69% of them ( 11,908) belong to families of Latin origin: 5,834 women and 6,073 men.
And, according to the California Homeless Youth Project, as homelessness in the “Golden State” intensifies, the number of homeless children continues to rise.Since 2014, the number of homeless youth in California has increased by 20 percent to more than 202,329.This represents almost 4% of the school population in general.
“Many children live in hotels, cars, shelters or flee from domestic violence and that is why some are not with their parents;sometimes they get delayed with their studies and that’s why tutors come to help them, “said Lisette Gaeta, regional administrator of School on Wheels.“Here we seek to provide stability to homeless students in a time of stress and transition, and we help them achieve educational success so they can break the cycle of homelessness andpoverty”.
For 25 years we have relied on the kindness and support of people like you to keep our programs running; you have a greater impact than you know! Here are 25 ways to support School on Wheels that you might not have thought about:
On today’s show, Jason Richter and Dustin Burford join Adrian and Ethan in the studio. Adrian chats with Natasha Bayus, the Education Director and Lisa Frias, the Student Support Coordinator of School on Wheels, a nonprofit in Los Angeles working to bring educational opportunities to homeless children.
In this interview, Natasha and Lisa talk about the history of School on Wheels and how it has progressed over the years along with discussing the increase of homelessness in Los Angeles.
More than one million public school students in the United States have no room to call their own, no desk to do their homework, no bed to call their own at night. State data collected by the National Center for Homeless Education shows over 1.3 million homeless students in the 2015-2016 school year.
Here in California, as housing costs continue to soar, more and more children are suffering the severest of consequences: No place to call home.
Since 2014, the number of homeless children in California has jumped 20 percent. In the most recently released data, 202,329 young people are living in cars, motels, shelters, on the street or in crowded homes shared with other families. That’s over 3 percent of the enrolled K-12 students, more than twice the national rate, but the actual numbers are almost certainly higher.
In school, these homeless children face daunting challenges and require social services and academic help perhaps more than any other group. Faced with extreme poverty, stress and exhaustion, these children are far more likely to struggle academically and drop out of school than their peers.
School on Wheels Regional Manager, Lisette Gaeta, and Regional Coordinator, Riley Hennessy interviewed with iHeartRadio to talk about the work our volunteers do in the community to help provide educational assistance to our homeless students.