Month: September 2018

Sep 27

Tutors of the Month – October 2018

Region 10:

Milan Narula – I began tutoring with School on Wheels in 2016. I tutor in a group setting at an emergency domestic violence shelter. I love that I get to meet and work with lots of different students. I’ve had so much fun with all of them! This past summer, a friend and I applied for, and won, a community grant to buy Chromebooks to teach coding to kids. From the very beginning, the students at the shelter loved coding and being on the computer, and the tutors loved teaching it. One family in particular (10th grade sister, 7th grade brother and 4th grade sister) were especially quick to pick up coding, and they challenged us because we had to keep coming up with new curriculum. It was fun and rewarding to see how much progress they made in such a short time, and I only hope they’re able to continue coding in their next home. Initially, the plan was for July to be our Month of Code, but the kids loved it so much that we continued until school started, and we hope to keep coding during the school year (whenever the kids are done with their schoolwork). I wish everyone could see the students’ enthusiasm and eagerness to learn — it’s the best part of being a School on Wheels tutor.

Region 4:

Riki Aihara – My experience with School on Wheels has been eye opening. I never knew the extent of how many kids and families face homelessness so close to my own home. I had this idea of the suburbs that excluded such problems and realized I had been naive. Being able to help and support these kids in any way possible has been both challenging at times and pure joy in others. I hope to continue making a difference in children’s lives with this great organization.

Online:

Thu-Anh Holton – I came across School on Wheels when I did an internet search for ways I could help out children. Education was always a big part of my upbringing and I was fortunate enough to have a strong support system to push me and help me with my studies. I wanted to pass that along in any way that I could. With my work schedule I end up with little pockets of down time, and wanted to make the most of that time. I started by donating school supplies, because without those things, learning can be so much more difficult than it already is. When I found out that School on Wheels had an online tutoring program, I thought it would be a great fit and it certainly is. I travel a lot for work and I would never be able to commit to physically being at a specific location to tutor. I hope to continue to work with School on Wheels for as long as my schedule allows. It’s such a great feeling seeing smiles on my students’ faces when they accomplish something!

 

Region 5:

Michael Hacker – In 2011, I was working a demanding job with the typical nagging desire of wanting to “give back.” I realized that I had to simply take that first step or nothing would ever happen. School On Wheels looked like a great organization and that proved to be a good hunch. I started with a student in Hollywood, and we worked together until he graduated from high school. We’re still in close contact, and he’s moved to Oregon and is living a productive and happy life. Last year I started working with Iris, who’s about to start her senior year in high school. Just an hour a week can make an enormous difference in the lives of these students, and it definitely continues to change my life in an extremely positive way.

 

Skid Row Learning Center:

Jennifer Soto – This coming November will be a full year of tutoring with Schools on Wheels. I get the biggest smile when the kids tell me how the tips I gave them for the week helped improved their school work. It’s amazing to know that tutoring once a week can still can make a big difference in the students school work. I had a student recently tell me that her goal is to be a famous DJ. She asked if I could help her with an assignment to explain why she wants to become a DJ, list ways on how she can reach her goal to become a DJ and come up with a creative DJ name. I love how our students always set their goals high. I like to remind the students that they can achieve as many goals they set their mind to. Any goal can be achieved, if they take the right steps on getting there and if they continue to have a positive mind with determination to never give up. I try to tell them not to listen to the people who say their goal is unrealistic or unachievable. A quote a friend told me once was there is three C’s in life, choices, chances and changes, we must make a choice to take a chance or our life will never change. I like to share this advice with our students, it’s a great way to explain why we should take the chance to pursue our goals. I will always want to continue tutoring at Schools on Wheels and thank you again for picking me as your tutor of the month!

Sep 27

Students of the Month – October 2018

Region 10:

J. (age 15), R. (age 12) and K. (age 9) – This summer, we worked on computer coding with the kids at a shelter in Orange County. This family of three siblings thrived in the coding program.

J. is the smart, gentle, and mature older sister who quietly guides her siblings when they’re unsure of what to do. J. is so smart that she was on track to get her AA degree while in high school, and she is excited to return to her education in the fall. During the summer, J. was eager to learn coding, and whenever possible, she also worked to increase her typing speed. She understands better than anyone that technology is the key to success in the modern world, and she’s grabbing the bull by the horns.

J.’s brother, R., is also remarkably intelligent. When handed a Chromebook to use for coding, R. enthusiastically zipped through the levels. Fortunately, a few of the tutors had just completed an AP Computer Science course, so they’ve been able to work with R. on additional new material. R. is quiet, humble and focused. Nothing will stop him.

The youngest of the siblings is K. Although she has less computer experience than her siblings, K. has been determined to learn as much coding as she can during the tutoring sessions. She has been a sponge. In addition, K. has been effusively thankful to the tutors for sharing their time with her.

Despite their current situation, this delightful family has shown an amazing amount of positivity, cooperation, and discipline. While all of the students at the shelter are wonderful, this trio reminds us that we are lucky to have them in our lives. – Milan Narula, Tutor

 

Online:

Lawrence (5th Grade) – What enjoy most about tutoring Lawrence is how his face lights up when he learns something new. While helping him with reading comprehension, he asked me what a salamander was. We then went down a rabbit hole about salamanders, because he wanted to learn more and more about them, as well as other amphibians. This continued for more than a couple sessions and it was a delight to see. – Thu-Anh Holton, Lawrence’s Online Tutor

 

Region 4:

Sean (11th Grade) – Sean is a caring teenager that is interested in Japanese culture and anime. His favorite subject is math and he loves Dragon Ball Z and Takis!
– Riki Aihara,
Tutor

 

Region 5:

Iris (12th grade) – Iris was living in a shelter with her family when we first met, and attending a local high school. The high school wasn’t providing a very supportive learning experience, so we worked together to enroll Iris at Lafayette Charter School, where she’s really done well with her classes. Iris excels in math, which is good because it’s definitely not my strong suit. Iris enjoys reading a great deal, and I love hearing her take on the books she’s reading, whether they’re classics or recent fiction.
Michael Hacker, Tutor

Sep 24

A ‘rolling’ school is popular with low-income and homeless children in LA

In a recent interview with Selena Rivera of Hoy our CEO Catherine Meek shared the core mission of School on Wheels and the challenges faced by the students we serve.

Currently more than 345,000 homeless children reside in California, and nearly 65,000 of them are enrolled in Los Angeles County schools. Many of these children live in motels, shelters and even cars.

Due to their unstable economic status, they often change areas, which makes it difficult for them to attend school.

And then how can these children get the education they need?

This is where Schools on Wheels (SOW), in Spanish “Escuelas Rodantes”, take action, says Catherine Meek, executive director of the nonprofit organization.

“They are helped with backpacks, with supplies, they are registered in the schools and if they can not attend, they are given tutoring, but not only that. The main commitment of the organization is to give it hope, “says Meek. Since the recession began in 2007, the numbers of homeless children has increased and the need for more volunteers is critical.

Read the full article at Hoy Los Angeles.

Sep 17

Friendsversary Was Fantastic!

Thanks so much to the over 220 guests who helped us celebrate our 25th Anniversary at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center on September 16. If you attended, be sure to tag yourself in the photos! A special thanks goes out to all our amazing sponsors: Aspect, Calamigos, Comerica Bank, ECMC Foundation, Epic Summit, Gallant, Alexandria, The Neiman Group, Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, Principal Communications Group, Sheppard Mullin, and Property Management Associates. It was such a lovely event, filled with good friends, a lively silent auction and an outpouring of compassion and goodwill towards our students experiencing homelessness. With your help, we raised over $75,000 for our program.

Mayor Garcetti shared his well wishes with us as well:

 

Sep 12

KNX Helpful Honda Hero of the Week: Catherine Meek

Our executive director was interviewed by the Helpful Honda Hero team, who also donated $250 to School on Wheels!

As the executive director and longest standing tutor at School on Wheels, Catherine leads this non-profit which sends tutors into communities to work with and inspire homeless kids. She receives an “A+” from us, and we honor her as this week’s KNX Helpful Honda Hero! 

Listen to the full interview at knx1070.radio.com.

Sep 9

Crisis of Homeless Students in the Los Angeles School District

A recent in-depth article by La Opinión highlights the many challenges faced by the students that School on Wheels serves, right now more than ever.

 In the midst of the housing crisis experienced by thousands of people in Los Angeles County, there are approximately 17,258 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) who do not have a permanent home to live in, and 69% of them ( 11,908) belong to families of Latin origin: 5,834 women and 6,073 men.

And, according to the California Homeless Youth Project, as homelessness in the “Golden State” intensifies, the number of homeless children continues to rise. Since 2014, the number of homeless youth in California has increased by 20 percent to more than 202,329. This represents almost 4% of the school population in general.

“Many children live in hotels, cars, shelters or flee from domestic violence and that is why some are not with their parents; sometimes they get delayed with their studies and that’s why tutors come to help them, “said Lisette Gaeta, regional administrator of School on Wheels. “Here we seek to provide stability to homeless students in a time of stress and transition, and we help them achieve educational success so they can break the cycle of homelessness and poverty”.

Read the full article at La Opinión.