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.
Every year we join forces with the community in walking to raise awareness about homelessness in Los Angeles. The event is hosted by UnitedWay and is called HomeWalk. We are the largest and only team representing homeless children and youth! Join us in this annual sponsored walk (SOWALK) at Grand Park, 200 N Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012 ALL WELCOME. Once you have registered visit our Crowdrise page and start collecting sponsors!
Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish Calendar. We thought it would be fitting to give special thanks to all our donors, supporters, volunteers, staff, and friends that observe this special day.
Every year we receive thousands of backpacks and school supplies that are sorted and filled by congregations throughout Southern California. Many temples, day schools and social action committees organize fundraising events for School on Wheels and the homeless children that we serve or offer their time and talents as volunteers for School on Wheels.
This day is the most solemn of the year for Jewish people; yet there is an undertone of joy that suffuses it, a joy that revels in the spirituality of the day. We are so thankful and filled with joy that we can consider the following among our wonderful donors and friends:
Temple Judea Heschel Day School
Congregation Shir Amir The Haupt Group
Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center
Temple Isaiah Preschool Congregation Tikvat Jacob
Burbank Temple Emanu El
Temple Ramat Zion
Temple Etz Chaim
Temple Beth Hillel
Congregation B’nai B’nai
Temple Isaiah (Golden Sun Kids)
Hehillay Israel (Early Childhood Center)
Sometimes I get very angry, sometimes sad, sometimes despairing as I think of all the homeless children we see every day. One in every 30 children in the U.S. experiences homelessness every year – that’s one student in every classroom in America. Why is this not a national crisis discussed by every political, religious, education and community leader in this country? Why does the media not talk about 2.5 million homeless kids? Is it too overwhelming to consider? Too hard to talk about? Too shameful to acknowledge?
I don’t have to tell any of you, our loyal and generous volunteers, donors and supporters, about the heart-breaking issue of homeless children. You are there for them every day, giving them the tools they need to succeed in school, the consistency of a mentor and positive role model, the hope we all need to survive. That’s a lot. Now I am asking you to take one more step: shout out loud for homeless kids. Make your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, political representatives, baristas, Uber drivers, understand the magnitude of this problem. Talk about how education is a critical link in breaking this terrible cycle of homelessness. Tell them about our students and how challenging their lives are. They have no power and no voice, but you do.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do for our students. You are making an enormous difference in their lives.
August is here and that means it’s back-to-school time. Were you excited to go back to school when you were young or did you want summer break to go on forever? Were you nervous going into a new grade? Did you worry about having the right clothes? I’ve been working with my student this summer and I see the stress he’s beginning to show as the new school year draws closer. Starting a new grade or a new school is tough for any kid, but for our students it can be painfully difficult — they may not have the new clothes their peers have, they may not have the school supplies they need, or any understanding from a new teacher. Most of them are starting from behind – typically two or three grades. What a painful situation for a kid to be in.
But school is one of the few stable, secure places in the lives of homeless children, a place where they can acquire the skills needed to escape poverty. And you, our wonderful donors and volunteers, help them understand how critical being in school and learning are. You can – and do – help close the gaps in their education. Whether you are tutoring every week or holding a backpack drive or donating funds, you are making a difference in the life of our most forgotten children. Where others don’t even acknowledge them, you reach out to help them. You validate them as the important persons they are; you encourage them to be the best students possible and most importantly, you instill hope in their young lives.
If you have any ideas and thoughts as to how we can help more of our students, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 641-1678. I would love to hear from you.
Summer is in full swing and I have a special request for all our amazing volunteers and supporters — please keep helping our students during the summer months. Summer may bring thoughts of vacation, leisure, and fun activities. For our homeless students, however, the summer break is not their friend. Students forget a lot of what they have learned throughout the school year, particularly homeless children. On average the learning loss is about three months of reading and math skills. Our students have enough obstacles in their lives – we don’t want them to lose everything you’ve helped them with during the school year.
Studies also show that being out of school is a dangerous time for unsupervised children and teens. They are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, engage in high-risk behaviors, receive poor grades and drop out of school than those who have the benefit of constructive activities supervised by responsible adults.
I know that many of you work with and support our students year round. Thank you – that will help them retain the knowledge they have learned during the school year and reduce that summer learning loss.
We know that summer learning is critical to ongoing academic success. We want our students to have a variety of experiences that challenge them, develop their talents, keep them engaged, and expand their horizons during these summer months. Our students don’t have a vacation — don’t let their learning take a vacation either.