We would like to give a huge shout out to all of these amazing tutors who have volunteered with us for a year or more! We couldn’t impact the lives of thousands of children without you.
Yu Fang Pan
Ariane Mc Kiernan
Jin Soo Kang
Thousands of families experience homelessness on any given night in America, leaving many children stricken by the grief of instability and unpredictability. There is a saying in Skid Row, “homeless but not hopeless.” But where does your hope come from if you’re the mother of four young, energetic children crammed in a motel room suitable for one or two people? How do you survive days when your kids go to bed hungry? Where does your hope come from when you’re an 8-year-old child whose only concept of home includes a revolving door?
A recent four-part series by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez on child poverty, especially as it relates to education, provides a painfully clear window into the lives of these children. The short film that starts the series is especially powerful, and a must watch for anyone who wants to understand the daily stress and trauma these children face.
I wish we lived in an America where homelessness didn’t exist; where kids could go to school without worrying about where they will sleep at night or if they will have enough food; where kids wouldn’t take on the burdens of adulthood. An America where kids could be kids – laughing, running, jumping, learning – the way they were meant to be.
So what can we do? We can start by speaking up, advocating for change, and accepting nothing less. Our friends need us, and we must deliver.
To view/read the full series:
Part 1: Hidden in L.A. suburbia, wrenching poverty preys on children and destroys dreams
Part 2: For the principal with the most homeless students in L.A., the reality of poverty is personal
Part 3: Whether home is a van, a motel or a garage, L.A.’s suburban poor children learn to survive
Part 4: For children trapped in poverty, breaking free is getting harder
School on Wheels Board Member Angela Sanchez shared her experience with homelessness for this installment of SoCal SoCurious. Listener Victoria asked, “How should I speak to kid about Homelessness?” Listen to the full interview here.
The Junior League of Los Angeles (JLLA) has partnered with School on Wheels on a project for 2018-19 to revitalize our “Believe, Understand, and Succeed” (BUS) program. As some of you may know, the BUS Program is an online mentoring and academic program meant to ensure student success both in and after high school. Broadly speaking, these lessons seek to foster educational success and provide guidance with education/career services for our high-school aged students who are experiencing homelessness.
This past year JLLA’s dedicated committee of 11 trained volunteers hosted four workshops at group homes belonging to The Dream Catcher Foundation, Inc. in downtown Los Angeles. They plan to host three new workshops in the spring of 2019, as well as hosting a campus tour for the young women. As of yet, the favorite training topics have been on emotional intelligence and conflict resolution! Sessions have included lots of fun icebreakers and group activities to aid discussion and the learning process. One particular highlight was an activity around positive reinforcement and complimenting others; needless to say, everyone was engaged and smiling!
Last month we kicked off our Matching Gift Challenge by sharing 9-year-old Sheli’s story and how she is beating the odds stacked against her with the help and support of School on Wheels. We are happy to announce that our donors and supporters accepted the challenge and raised over $54,000!
Thank you to our generous supporters for accepting this challenge and then for smashing it!
All contributions up to $50,000 will be matched by the Sharon D. Lund Foundation, and longtime donors Steven and Stephanie Dahlberg.
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 12, 2018 – Spin Master Corp., a leading global children’s entertainment company, kicked off the season of giving with the first Caring & Sharing Holiday Banquet in Los Angeles. The inaugural event, hosted in partnership with the Shuki & Tori Levy Foundation, involved over 250 children from School on Wheels, a charity that provides tutoring, school supplies and other educational assistance to children experiencing homelessness in Southern California.
Held at Project Evolve Los Angeles, Spin Master employees and volunteers helped each child select two Spin Master toys – one for themselves and another to share with a friend. Children were also treated to a day at the “carnival” with classic games and booths such as ring toss and tattoo art, followed by a luncheon.
“We’re so excited to bring the spirit of giving and holiday cheer to children in Los Angeles this year,” said Ronnen Harary, Spin Master’s Co-Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO. “Our annual Caring & Sharing Holiday Banquet has been a giving tradition for Spin Master employees in Toronto for seven years. With our LA event, we are expanding the positive impact we have on kids during the holidays – seeing the smiles on their faces is the greatest reward.”
Partners for the Los Angeles Caring & Sharing Holiday Banquet, in support of School on Wheels, include the Shuki & Tori Levy Foundation, Project Evolve LA, Magic Jump Rentals, Fresh Brothers & Bart’s Carts, Magician Rich Freeman, Event Medics, and Riz Transportation.
“The School on Wheels program serves as a consistent support system to students at a time of great stress and fear,” said Catherine Meek, Executive Director of School on Wheels. “We bring the message to our students that they are cared about and important. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Spin Master on the first ever Los Angeles Caring & Sharing Holiday Banquet. The event’s caring and sharing theme reflects our core values and allows our students to experience the holiday giving spirit firsthand.”
Spin Master’s 8th Annual Caring & Sharing Holiday Banquet in Toronto will be taking place on December 4th at the Liberty Grand. Globally, Spin Master continues to bring inspiration and the opportunity to learn, grow and play to children living in challenging situations through the Spin Master led global initiative, the Toy Movement.