Month: July 2015

Jul 31

How to Donate School Supplies for Homeless Students

Back-to-school season has begun, and we are in need of school supplies to help our students start the year with everything they need to succeed. With the cost of school supplies reaching up to $350 last year and always rising, many of our students are unable to afford the basic materials they need. Last year we gave over 6,000 backpacks and school supplies to our students. We couldn’t have done that without the generous donations from our supporters. Here is what you can do to help our students start the new year on the right foot:

  1. Donate in Person – Buy extra backpacks, notebooks, pencils, or any items on our Student Wish List while you’re shopping. Drop them off at one of our offices:
    1. 83 S. Palm Street, Ventura, CA 93001 or
    2. 600 East 7th Street, Ste 109, Los Angeles, CA 90021
  2. Roonga – Not near one of our offices? Now you can donate school supplies online. Browse our list of needed supplies, choose what you want to donate, and Roonga will send it directly to us.
  3. Online shopping – Many websites and online retailers – such as Target, Amazon Smile, iGive.com, or eScrip – will donate a percentage of your purchase to School on Wheels. Use these tools when you’re shopping online, and some of the money you spend will help us give our students the supplies they need – at no extra cost to you!
  4. Donate money for us to buy school supplies – Don’t have time to shop for supplies? Donate online: $50 buys a brand new backpack for a student. $100 provides a backpack and school supplies for the entire year.

Dan Cardinali, president of dropout-prevention group Communities In Schools said that when students don’t have the school supplies they need, “They lose a sense of belonging. They are, right from the start, set apart. It materially compromises their ability to learn.” Don’t let our students fall behind simply because they can’t afford school supplies. Your gift, however small, can make a difference.

Jul 29

A Thank you to our Volunteer Tutors

Our volunteer tutors go directly to our students, many of whom are at various shelters and transitional living facilities around Southern California. This video is from some of the shelter staff that works with our amazing volunteers in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. We know that the students we work with love our tutors coming each and every week, but our partners do as well!  Thank you to our Regional Coordinator, Marisol Farfan for putting the video together and to the shelter staff for participating.

Jul 27

Get Creative with the Arts!

In this workshop, Lauren Kinney presents arts activities — drawing from music, creative writing, and visual arts. Utilizing the arts in tutoring can create a more lighthearted environment that may reach unengaged students and provide them with ways to shine while they learn. The arts activities presented reinforce skills and topics from language arts and math, integrating these subjects in fun and creative ways.

Lauren Kinney is a musician and writer in Los Angeles currently working on her master’s in creative writing with an emphasis in fiction. She has taught K-8th grade general music for 2-1/2 years after being trained in Orff Schulwerk, a music education approach that incorporates movement, drama, and speech in the general music classroom. She is passionate about arts education and is interested in the ways that the arts can be a vehicle for social-emotional learning.

Jul 26

Certificate of Recognition – State of California

On June 26, 2015 our regional coordinators Louis Mena and Marisol Farfan received this award from California Senator, Tony Mendoza.

In recognition of your support of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program at Norwalk – La Miranda Unified School District.  On behalf of the 32nd Senate District I commend you on your exemplary leadership and commitment to improving the quality of life in our community.  Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our students.
Best wishes for your continued success.
Tony Mendoza
Senator 32nd District

Listen to the radio interview with Louis here (starting at 11 minutes)

Jul 23

Students Donate School Supplies with Lemonade Stand Profits

This summer, Kelly Washkewicz, Caprial Koe, and Alia Koe continued their tradition of donating school supplies to School on Wheels. These generous 11th graders have been using a creative method to support School on Wheels every year since they were in middle school – each summer they set up a lemonade stand and use the profits to buy backpacks and school supplies for our students!

The first donation was in 2011 and consisted of about $400 worth of backpacks and supplies. Their business took off in the following years, growing to a $2,000-value donation this year! The boxes of school supplies came just in time for the upcoming school year. They will be taken to local shelters and group homes where children need materials for school, as well as to students’ first one-on-one tutoring sessions. Thanks to Kelly, Caprial, and Alia’s creative thinking and dedication, hundreds of homeless students won’t have to go without the backpacks and school supplies they need during the next year.

To make your own donation of school supplies, visit our Student Wish List and buy a few extra items when you’re doing your back to school shopping. Or think outside the box like Kelly, Caprial, and Alia and start a fundraiser or school supply drive of your own!

backpack donations over the years

 

Jul 22

Guinness World Record Event News Stories

  • Our official certificate from our previous Guinness World Record

On Saturday, June 27th, 2015, School on Wheels attempted to set the Guinness World Record for the “largest gathering of people dressed as Albert Einstein.” The event took place at the California Science Center. We created quite a stir as hundreds of people, dressed in white wigs/mustaches and suits, gathered to create a new world record. A huge thank you to our official time keepers and witnesses: Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph; Ron Rohovit, Director of Education of the California Science Center; Emily Hunt, Ventura Unified School District Science Teacher; and Benny Wasserman (Einstein lookalike, Author and Actor). We would also like to thank our event sponsors: Property Management Associates, Instantly, Southwest Airlines, Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, Lynn Gardner & Paul Multari Charitable Fund, Principal Communications Group, Clothes the Deal and Goodwill.

“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” – Albert Einstein

Founder of School on Wheels Agnes Stevens, who passed away earlier this year, loved Albert Einstein! Her reason was not only that he was a genius but that he had curly hair, like hers. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s presentation of the complete Theory of General Relativity to the Prussian Academy. In honor of Agnes and Albert, School on Wheels decided to attempt this record.

In 2013 School on Wheels created a New Guinness World Record for the longest line of backpacks by lining up over 2,700 in a row. We’re still waiting to hear if we are official record breakers this year but if not, our amazing team has the dedication and commitment to try again next year!  Stay tuned…

We were hoping to attract media attention with this event, but we weren’t quite expecting the global coverage it received. Please check out the news coverage below and thank you again to all our volunteers, students, staff, supporters and friends for making this event truly record breaking!

     ABC7     Knbc86   CBS news logo