Friends and Supporters,
I hear a lot of people asking what can we do to combat the racism, ignorance and hatred exhibited on the streets, in leadership positions and in the hearts of many who live in our country. Over 80 percent of our students are children of color; 53 percent are of Hispanic heritage. And they are afraid. Many are used to fear, anxiety and stress – they experience those feelings every single day because they are homeless. They are used to being bullied, shamed and ridiculed.
We must let our students and their families know that the actions unfolding in places like Charlottesville are unacceptable and not reflective of who we are as a community. At School on Wheels, we value diversity, inclusion and equality. We deplore and condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the strongest terms. We affirm our commitment to serving the most vulnerable and fragile among us – homeless children.
We must not be defeated by bigotry and ignorance. In the midst of all this sorrow, darkness and anger, we can stand up, speak out and remind ourselves that in our School on Wheels community, we have thousands of people who believe that love and truth will win out. I am inspired by the courage our students display every day just to go to school, the generosity of our supporters and friends who sustain us, and the precious time and dedication our volunteers give to our students.
There is much work to be done, and we need your help to do it. So if someone asks you, “What can we do to help, to uphold our shared values, to demonstrate love and kindness?” tell them to use their energy and power to support organizations like School on Wheels. We can make a huge difference in the life of a homeless child. This is what we can do.
Sofia is six years old. She’s not sure where – or if – she and her family will sleep tonight. She’s been in three different schools this year, trying to adjust each time to new curricula, new teachers, new classmates. She is overwhelmed by stress and fear. Sofia is one of our students living in the extreme poverty of homelessness. She is one of the 163,000 homeless children in just the school districts we serve in Southern California. The barriers preventing her from getting an education are enormous.
We knock down those barriers – our volunteer tutors provide educational support to homeless children from kindergarten through grade 12. We give hope and a chance to learn to these, our most vulnerable and forgotten children. Our volunteers and the relationships they form with the students they serve make an enormous long-term difference in thousands of young lives.
Please consider a tax-deductible donation today so we can give homeless students like Sofia the hope they need to reach their full potential. You can donate online through our donation page or by check to:
School on Wheels, Inc., P. O. Box 23371, Ventura, CA 93002.
School on Wheels is the only organization that brings tutors to homeless kids. We can’t make a homeless child’s education a perfect one, but with your help we can fill the gaps and be a constant reminder to them that there are people who care about them and their education. Please help us improve the life of a homeless child by making the most generous, tax-deductible contribution you can today at our secure website.
On behalf of School on Wheels and our homeless students, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support of our work.
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
I have always loved the Thanksgiving holiday, but never truly appreciated it until I became a volunteer for School on Wheels. Like most people, I thought of Thanksgiving as filled with food, family, and friends. Now when I think of Thanksgiving, I reflect on the words…thanks and giving. I never felt the true power of gratitude and giving until I saw what your support, encouragement and generosity have done for thousands of homeless children in our communities. Because of you, a kindergartner can learn to read; because of you, a fifth grader will be able to go to school because she has a uniform and a brand new backpack; because of you, a high school student can solve a complex problem with his very own tutor.
We celebrate this time of giving thanks and are grateful that we have friends like you whose compassion and generosity allow us to reach out to the ever-increasing number of homeless students in our communities. Please know how much we value your continued support. Thank you most of all for the hope you have given to our homeless students so that they too can have a chance for success through education.
With gratitude and admiration,
Click here to see more from our November Newsletter
Meek will continue to advocate for greater awareness and more services for the homeless students School on Wheels tries to help and, more importantly, the thousands more they can’t reach.
Our Executive Director, Catherine Meek, was featured in the Ventana Monthly to talk about the work of School on Wheels as well as her personal experience with homelessness within and outside of the organization.
Click here to read the Cover Story on the Ventana website!
Executive Director, Catherine Meek, has overseen the growth of School on Wheels from a small, local nonprofit serving 400 students with 300 volunteers to one that works with over 2,200 volunteers tutoring 3,450 students in six counties in Southern California. She started as the first volunteer in Skid Row, becoming increasingly involved in day-to-day operations with Agnes Stevens and was elected Executive Director in 2009.
Catherine believes that education is a right of every child and an economic imperative for our society, especially for homeless students if they are to break the cycle of extreme poverty and know that their lives can improve through education.
Catherine was named one of 10 Women of Worth in the U.S. in 2012 and has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award at the Gold Level for the past five years.
Catherine’s prior experience included organization planning and strategic compensation consulting roles. She spent 16 years as President of her own firm (Meek and Associates), 12 years as Vice President and Principal of Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby, and two years as Managing Principal at Sibson & Company.
Catherine was a designated expert resource for The Executive Committee group of Chief Executive Officers and is one of a few individuals to receive their prestigious 200 Club Award. Her articles and book contributions have appeared in a wide range of publications and she has been a frequent speaker and seminar leader.
Catherine holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
This Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature Assembly was presented to Catherine Meek, Executive Director of School on Wheels, for her dedication to over 500 hours of volunteer service.