Read about the resiliency of the Class of 2021. Congratulations to all our amazing graduating seniors…
Adam Creighton University, Marine Biology
Adam was doing okay in school and knew he wanted to go to college—but living in a motel with his family was taking its toll on his motivation and confidence. He was matched with a mother/daughter tutoring duo who helped him prepare for the PSAT with new learning strategies and a new perspective (his final score was 1450!) Adam says his time with School on Wheels helped him realize he can do anything he sets his mind to, regardless of his situation.
Hernan California State University Fullerton, Biological Science
Hernan will be the first in his family to attend college. His dream is to become a physician specializing in primary care. Before he met his tutor he was failing classes and did not see college in his future. Hernan says it is a great feeling to have accomplished so much and that his life is much different today than when he first met his tutor four years ago.
Mark California State University, Fullerton
Mark plans to become a family therapist after college. When he first started tutoring with School on Wheels he was more concerned about where his family was going to sleep each night than his D’s and F’s in school. He credits his tutor Theresa with improving his self-confidence and says she taught him that school was key to being successful and to never stop dreaming!
Jenin California State University, Northridge, Speech and Language Pathology
Jenin needed help with her college applications and her tutor Jay Lee turned up at exactly the right time. She was feeling alone and disconnected from school but with his support she began to think outside of the box and aimed higher. She thinks School on Wheels is a great program for kids in her situation and says that one person can impact your life in ways you never imagined.
Angel Plans to attend nursing school
“Don’t give up” is the mantra Angel learned from her School on Wheels tutor, Wisdom (what a great name for a tutor!). She says that his patience was the key to helping her understand math and she calls Wisdom a ‘Super Tutor’.
Guest post by School on Wheels Ambassador Victor Maldonado
There are enough children without homes in Los Angeles to fill Dodger Stadium. Yet, when we think of homelessness, children aren’t who we typically imagine. With over 65,000 students without homes in Los Angeles County alone, why does child homelessness go so grossly unnoticed? The answer is simple: out of sight, out of mind. These are children who are living in shelters, motels, group foster homes, vehicles, and on the streets. The common thread that connects these children is a lack of consistent education.
I am proud to volunteer with an organization that bridges these gaps in education, giving children experiencing homelessness a fighting chance at a stable life—School on Wheels. Their approach may seem modest: tutor a child for one hour per week. However, the impact on that child’s life is incalculable—it provides these children with the structure and consistency they need. That hour reiterates to them that they aren’t forgotten, that they do matter, and that they can change their circumstances.
And once a child believes in themselves, the hope and optimism they carry is truly inspirational. In January 2018 a student of mine was struck in the crossfire of a drive-by. In the weeks following, I recall trying to be sympathetic to his condition by telling him we could just play games until he felt better. Knowing he had the SATs coming up, he responded, “Games won’t get me into college. We’ll work on math sections.” To contextualize things, this was a student who, not even a year prior, would constantly vocalize that he might as well “pick out a box to live in now” because he felt he had no chance of attending college. It was at that precise moment that I realized how much of an impact that hour a week can have on the self-esteem of a child in need.
School on Wheels is the only non-profit organization in Southern California that focuses on the education of children experiencing homelessness. As such, its’ success, as well as the success of the children it serves, is directly related to its number of volunteers. Sadly, that number is often limited by people’s misconceptions on whether they’re “qualified” to volunteer. In reality, the only obstacle is a person’s willingness to volunteer.
Regardless of your age, background or level of education, your mere presence in a child’s life can be transformative. They will never forget that someone cared enough to show up once a week during the most turbulent time of their lives. Get started today.
NBC4 and Telemundo 52 Los Angeles have launched the return of Supporting Our Schools donation drive from July 11-19. The stations are teaming up with Ralphs and Food 4 Less to provide homeless students in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties with essential school supplies they need before school starts in the fall.
The public is invited to make a $1 or more donation at check-out when shopping at their local Ralphs and Food 4 Less supermarket – visit Ralphs.comand Food4Less.com to find a location near you. All proceeds will go to support School on Wheels!
April is Volunteer Appreciation month, and every year we celebrate our volunteers and thank them for dedicating their time and talents to supporting the homeless students we serve. As this year is our 25th anniversary, we hosted our biggest event ever. On Saturday, April 21, over 150 volunteers from Long Beach to Ventura joined staff and board members for an inspirational breakfast and award ceremony.
Mayor Eric Garcetti honored volunteer tutors with certificates of appreciation and recorded a video for us to share at the event. Speakers included a parent whose daughter is now attending college and student Charlie (15) who surprised his tutor, Executive Director Catherine Meek, by reading out the proclamation she received from the mayor. Click here to see a full list of the amazing volunteers who logged over 50+ volunteer hours in 2017.