Timeline
Support Homeless Children - Have a Little Faith in Me PSA

 View our 2015 Annual Report

School on Wheels, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1993 by Agnes Stevens, a retired schoolteacher, who understood the importance of education to homeless students - and the unique challenges they face. We were then, and we remain, the only organization in Southern California dedicated exclusively to the educational needs of this fragile population.

Today, hundreds of volunteers work one-on-one with children whose homelessness prevents them from getting the academic stability and help they desperately need. The heart of School on Wheels’ programs is the volunteer tutors who come from all backgrounds and professions, with a shared goal – to reach out to a child, to teach, to mentor, and assist in their educational life.

The mission of School on Wheels is to enhance educational opportunities for homeless children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Our goal is to shrink the gaps in their education and provide them with the highest level of education possible. Our program serves as a consistent support system to homeless students at a time of great stress and fear. We bring the message to our students that they are cared about and important.

We do this by offering:

  • One-on-one weekly tutoring
  • School supplies
  • Assistance in entering school
  • Help in locating lost records
  • Scholarships
  • Guidance for parents in educational matters for their children
  • A Learning Center located in the heart of Skid Row

Our core values represent what we believe in, what we stand for, and how we approach everything we do. They determine how we treat each other, our students, volunteers, donors, partners, and the communities we serve. Our values serve as both a description of what we already share and an aspiration for what School on Wheels continues to strive for. We measure our success by how well we live up to them.

Trust
Integrity
Innovation
Flexibility
Passion
Teamwork

Homelessness in America

Accurate statistics regarding the number of homeless children are difficult to obtain. The homeless population is constantly in flux. The statistics are the most recent and admittedly under-estimated. Most counts do not specifically identify children, do not include families staying in motels, or children living in group foster homes.

Here are additional resources to find out more about homelessness in the U.S. and how you can help.
Here are additional resources to find out more about homelessness in the U.S. and how you can help.

Who We Are

The Executive Board

Joshua Fein, President

Chief Financial Officer, Property Management Associates, Inc.

Steven Dahlberg, Treasurer

President, The Kissel Company, Inc.

Clifford Neiman, Secretary

Principal, The Neiman Group Architects

Lynn M. Gardner, Esq.

Retired Electric Power Executive

Jackson George

SVP, Creative Film Services, Walt Disney Studios

Professor Christine ​Chambers Goodman

Pepperdine University School of Law

Beong-Soo Kim

Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Kaiser Permanente

Mitchell Leib

President of Music and Soundtracks, Walt Disney Studios & The Disney Music Group

Laurie Levit

Educational Consultant

Catherine Meek

Executive Director, School on Wheels

Cecil L. “Chip” Murray

Professor of Religion, Tanzy Chair in Christian Ethics, USC

Ellen Padnos

Co-Founder, Joyful Giving

Angela M. Sanchez

Program Analyst for College Success, ECMC Foundation

Susan Taylor

President, OMD Entertainment

Janet Ambrosi Wertman

Development Consultant

Melissa Zukerman

Managing Partner, Principal Communications Group

Our Students

Every month we ask our regional staff to nominate a star student. Our students receive a special certificate for being nominated. It is a great privilege to work with these amazing students.

Oscar, 12th Grade

June 2016

Inland Empire

Oscar comes to my group tutoring sessions every Tuesday and Thursday on time and eager to learn. He enjoys learning about history and geography the most. He not only inspires others around him but also encourages them to stay on task and take full advantage of the assistance the tutors provide. Oscar’s leadership, regular attendance and willingness to better himself set the tone for each and every session we have. He leads by example without ever being asked to do so. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to work with a student with such potential, and feel confident that Oscar will go on to accomplish great things in life academically and professionally.

Cheyne Burton, Tutor

Lele, 12th Grade

October 2015

Hollywood, Silver Lake, Highland Park

Lele is 18, a senior in high school and a multitalented young woman. She has the rare combination of being naturally talented in both the arts and the sciences. I love how she is a deep thinker as well. She likes to talk about big social issues like racism and poverty, and it is an honor to discuss these things with her. We all have to overcome challenges at some point in our lives, but the strength and resilience she has demonstrated in overcoming her challenges is nothing short of inspiring. I must also mention that this young lady has a razor-sharp wit and often leaves us both doubled-over in laughter! The biggest thing we work on is her sitting down and doing the work necessary to channel her natural talents into success at school. She once showed me an assignment on a topic we had worked on where she got 100%! She was proud and so was I. One of my favorite days was when we visited a college campus, and she asked questions about college and told me she was considering it for the first time. Go Lele!

Tahiti Arsulowicz, Tutor

Dontavion, 10th Grade

September 2015

Inland Empire

I nominated Dontavion for Student of the Month because he is an energetic and motivated student who always comes to our sessions with a smile on his face. He’s funny, ambitious, and brings new perspectives to every discussion we hold. His dream is to become an actor, and his hard working nature and positive attitude will definitely help him achieve his dream!

Mathangi Suresh, Tutor

Matthew, 9th Grade

August 2015

Inland Empire

Matthew is a freshman who loves basketball. He loves to watch, play, and talk about basketball at any given time. As a Team LeBron fan, he looks up to role models like this phenomenal basketball star. However, for Matthew, academic work did not come as easily as shooting balls. He severely struggled in many areas such as reading, writing, and math. Considering his age, this was a big concern for tutors and staff. Therefore, School on Wheels and the facility staff worked together to create appropriate academic plans for Matthew. As a result, Matthew’s reading and math have improved noticeably. Not only that, his self-esteem grew as he gained confidence in academia. Just like any teenager undergoing puberty, Matthew has his moments. On some days he is beyond moody. But he is loving and affable when he feels safe and secure. That is why the staff and SOW truly care for Matthew and are pleased with his accomplishments. We believe that, with his hard work and consistent efforts, Matthew will be able to live his dream to become a U.S. Marshall.

Song Jeong, Tutor

Beautiful, 1st Grade

July 2015

South Los Angeles

Beautiful is a six-year-old student with a huge desire to learn. She has a very shy demeanor yet is quick to participate in every learning activity presented to her. Beautiful enjoys reading short stories, especially ones with Disney princesses. She is always eager to assist her siblings with school related work when she notices them struggling. Beautiful deserves to be Student of the Month because she displays an aspiration to learn and works earnestly as part of that desire. Beautiful is such a pleasure to have in group. With her gentle enthusiasm, I know she will be a great pleasure to her community.

Raquel Munoz

Hailey, 5th Grade

June 2015

San Fernando Valley
Star Student

Hailey is currently in the 5th grade and is probably one of the most unique kids you will ever meet. She’s a part of the chorus at her school, enjoys reading books and is in love with the movie Frozen. Whenever she finishes her homework early, she loves to look up images of Queen Elsa, a character in Frozen, and shows me her favorites. Hailey hasn’t decided exactly what she wishes to be when she grows up but her choices are either a teacher, an aerospace engineer, or an artist. She is one of the smartest kids I have ever met. She has a vast imagination that allows her to think so creatively about everything. Hailey is a great listener and an outstanding student. I honestly can’t imagine tutoring anyone else!

Samantha Montes De Oca, Tutor

Erick, 6th Grade

June 2015

South Orange County
Star Student

Once Erick had a math assignment that I couldn’t explain to him. The problems were simple, how to convert fractions into decimals into percentages, but I wasn’t prepared that he had no understanding of fractions. When I realized this, it stumped me. I had learned fractions so long ago that I didn’t know how to explain them or even where to start. So we began to work on it together, breaking the parts into little sections. After a few sessions he was able to solve the problems. I was so excited by what he learned that I couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the session.

The drawing is something Erick’s little sister drew. Apparently I’m the middle one with the big ears and Erick is the one on the right.

Eric Chang, Tutor

Hannah, 11th Grade

June 2015

Online Tutoring
Star Student

Seeing my student prosper during our online tutoring sessions makes it all worth it. When I began tutoring her, Hannah was barely able to set up a problem on the CAHSEE practice exam. I noticed that after a few weeks of tutoring she started to approach the problems on her own and began to do more and more each week. Our tutoring sessions turned from weekly to biweekly lessons that dramatically enhanced her understanding of math and sparked her passion for learning. I asked her whether she was considering college as an option. At first told me, “No, it’s too hard,” but after spending time with her, her views have greatly changed and she’s more confident with herself.

Catherine Santizo, Tutor

Our Volunteers

Volunteers are the heart and soul of School on Wheels. In 2015, 2,219 volunteers tutored 3,491 homeless students. The Presidential Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals, families, and groups that have achieved a certain standard, measured by the number of hours of service over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime. Read more through our Star Volunteer stories.

Learn More