L.A. City Hall paid tribute to School on Wheels Founder, Agnes Stevens, for her passion and dedication to helping the homeless in her community. Watch the video above. The tribute and the legacy of Agnes, a Malibu resident, was also mentioned in a Malibu Times article.
Month: June 2015
Benny Wasserman and a few hundred other Albert Einstein look-alikes gathered at the California Science Center this past weekend to attempt to break a Guinness world record. This photo, by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters, was featured in The weekend in pictures from The Guardian.
We met Josephine (Josie) when she was staying at the Union Rescue Mission (URM) on Skid Row in the fall of 2014. Josie graduated from University High School, Santa Monica, in June and will be heading to University Southern California to study Human Biology this fall. She received five scholarships, including one from School on Wheels, as well as a grant from USC.
Josie was a regular student at the School on Wheels Skid Row Learning Center. We caught up with her to ask her a few questions about her time as a School on Wheels student and how she coped with school while being in a homeless situation. Josie, her mom, and sister are still homeless, but they are now living in a longer term transitional living shelter and said it feels more like home.
Josie, what was it like living in the largest homeless shelter in Skid Row?
I liked that it gave me a place to sleep but it was a very stressful experience. There were lots of people there that you would not meet in everyday life who were from all walks of life.
What was your first impression of School on Wheels’ Learning Center?
When I first walked in, I noticed straight away how many kids were there, especially younger kids. It was loud and busy but warm and welcoming. All the staff and volunteer tutors were really friendly, and Miss Allison, Skid Row Learning Center (SRLC) instructor, is an amazing person who was very encouraging to me and made the center a nice environment to be in.
What difference did School on Wheels make for you during this time?
Being able to study at the SRLC was very important to me because I was able to access the internet. (No internet at the shelter) Most of my homework assignments were online so I needed to be able to get online. They were also great at providing me with school supplies.
Did you move schools a lot?
Yes, I went to three different high schools and eight schools in total. We moved to LA from Indiana but we only became homeless two years ago. I knew I always wanted to go to college. It is such a great feeling to know I am finally done with high school!
Who is your hero?
My mom is my hero because she always pushed me to do well at school. She said that, ‘Having an education was the only way you get anywhere and if I wanted to reach for something better, school was the way to do it!’
Do you have a message for any students out there going through the same experiences as you?
I would tell them not to worry about their living situation and to take advantage of the resources available, like School on Wheels, and the people they meet that are there to help them. I would also say that it is important to be around other kids the same age and try to have fun. It is easy to get stressed about your situation, but sometimes it’s good to forget and just be a kid!
This workshop helps tutors build their students’ college knowledge by nurturing college-going aspirations, which come from intrinsic motivation and the belief in one’s ability to achieve and succeed. School on Wheels students often face hardships that can make it difficult to view college and other opportunities as attainable. Learn activities for different grades to nurture an “I can” attitude that includes how to plan and prepare for college, but also stresses the value of lifelong learning.
About the Host:
Dr. Corina Espinoza received her Doctor of Education from USC, where she specialized in education psychology. Her research focuses on the role of adults in the formation of a learner identity for students and in fostering college-going aspirations. Using a standards-based college knowledge curriculum she developed, Dr. Espinoza works with schools and teachers to build college knowledge in the classroom.
Benny Wasserman, an Albert Einstein look-alike and an Independent Motion Pictures and Film professional, will be joining School on Wheels this Saturday, June 27, at the California Science Center. We will be attempting to create a World Record Challenge in the category for “the most people dressed as Albert Einstein”. Benny is also the author of “Presidents Were Teenagers Too”, his published book about leadership.
We asked Benny a few questions about Einstein; here’s what he had to say…
When did you first realize that you looked like Albert Einstein?
I never thought I did! One day after I retired, I was helping my son, an attorney, in his office; someone said to me, “Did anyone tell you that you look like Albert Einstein?” He knew an agent; so I sent some photos in and started getting work right away. My first job was for a commercial in Japan. In the role of Albert Einstein, I have traveled all over the world including Greece, Spain, and Japan. I have also worked in movies and on TV, trade shows, print ads and public service announcements including one with Ellen DeGeneres on the energy crisis.
What do you like best about Albert Einstein, the person?
I was a great admirer of Einstein before I became his look-alike! I even had a bust of him in my house. Once I started learning about his personal life, he became more real to me. For example, Einstein didn’t start talking until he was 3 years old which is quite unusual. His teachers thought he had learning difficulties because he spoke so slowly. By 5th grade, teachers told his parents that he was stubborn and would not amount to anything; and, he was expelled in high school because he was considered difficult, a nuisance, and had poor grades. He first started talking about philosophy with a medical student who was boarding with his family. Kids like to know that stuff because it shows that he struggled in school, just like everyone else.
Do you have any tips for our participants on Saturday about how to dress like Einstein?
No Socks! Albert always insisted on not wearing any; he said they only get holes in them anyway. He usually was very uninterested in his appearance and would wear pants and sweaters that were well worn and unflattering. His wife would make him dress up for special occasions; that is when you would see him in a shirt and tie. Occasionally. Einstein wore glasses on the end of his nose and smoked a pipe. But since this is a kids’ event, I don’t think he would have brought his pipe; so, neither will I!
If you’d like to participate in our Guinness World Record attempt and meet Benny Wasserman, register for free here. We will have everything needed for your costume other than a collard shirt and dress pants. You can also create your own costume consisting of a blazer, shirt and tie, dress pants, white or grey wig, and a matching mustache if you really want to impress Mr. Wasserman with your Einstein impersonation!
Did you know that most students lose two months of grade equivalency in math skills during summer, and that low-income students suffer even further losses in reading achievement? In this webinar, School on Wheels staff outlines our exciting Summer Program designed to “fill in the gaps” and keep your student’s skills strong throughout the summer. Through a mix of assessments designed to identify your student’s areas of need, grade level assignments and worksheets, digital learning initiatives, and staff support, this program will provide you with tools to keep your student learning.