Timeline
Support students experiencing homelessness

 View our 2017 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 students experiencing homelessness - 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 children from kindergarten through twelfth grade who are experiencing homelessness. 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 these 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 children without homes 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

Professor Christine ​Chambers Goodman

Pepperdine University School of Law

Beong-Soo Kim

Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Kaiser Permanente

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.

Abigail, 12th Grade

July 2018

Online

Having recently transitioned to a shelter in Victorville (85 miles northeast of Los Angeles) and struggling to adjust to her new school and life out in the High Desert, Abigail reached out to us requesting assistance. She was originally resistant to tutoring each week, but ever since connecting with her online tutors, Ashley and Rupini, Abigail has shown considerable improvement in her demeanor and outlook. Abigail is spending the summer preparing for her final year in high school and is very close to being on track to graduate. She is also participating in our Summer Program. Keep up the great work, Abigail!

Ian Chan, Program Administrator

Pearanna, 6th grade

July 2018

Region 4

Pearanna is a 6th grader. She comes to the tutoring session every week with her brother. She is such an amazing kid. She always finishes her homework with little help, and after that she continues to read a book. She is a good reader and artist. She is a quiet girl, but her smile is loud and bright. As the oldest kid in the group, she shows mature behavior, which I am so proud of.

Ian Lee, Tutor

Jessica, age 6

July 2018

Region 5

I love getting to work with Jessica weekly, see her reading improve, and see how excited she gets when she answers something right. It’s not easy for a 6-year old to go to school all day and come home just to do more schoolwork, yet I try to find a way to make it exciting for Jesse. Whether it’s getting stickers at the end of each session or playing some games in between schoolwork, my goal is for her to always walk away happy. I am really grateful for what School on Wheels does for these kids, and I feel lucky to be a part of their community.

Holly Fleischer, Tutor

Ethan, age 5

July 2018

Region 1

Ethan has always shown an interest in learning. When I first started to tutor Ethan, he was shy and would wait until I gave him the answer. I’m pretty sure he did this because he was afraid to be wrong, but over time he has grown in knowledge. The first month of tutoring Ethan he did not know his numbers to 100 (or at least knew some and would skip around). I can now say he has learned his numbers with the help of the number song we found on Youtube in addition to other practice exercises. He no longer waits for the answer to be given to him but says it with confidence. When going to tutor Ethan every Thursday, he always has a positive attitude and is willing to try new study skills to improve. I truly feel honored to tutor Ethan and feel that he deserves the student of the month award!

Nayelie Aguilar, Tutor

Caleb, 8th Grade

July 2018

Region 9

When I first met Caleb, he seemed reluctant to participate in our sessions. After a lot of hard work and determination, he has become much more comfortable with trying new or challenging activities. With reading being a major area in need of improvement, we worked a lot on developing his reading skills. I have seen him grow from reading with hesitation to reading with enthusiasm. He now enjoys reading about new topics every week. I am very proud of his growth, and I am excited to see him continue to prosper.

Jacob Maldonado, Tutor

Tavin, Connor, and Tannar

June 2018

Region 8

Tanner is an artistic, curious, and bright student. He sees math problems in his own unique way, and it is amazing to see the gears turning in his head and the smile that lights up his face after working hard to reach a solution. Tanner is growing more confident in reading (especially when it’s about exotic animals!) and his eagerness for math has helped him progress from basic multiplication to exponents. Congrats Tanner on Student of the Month! Sammy Pedersen, Tutor

My name is Dawn, and I have been tutoring a 2nd grade student about 6 months. We have been focusing on his literacy and math skills. He has learned how to tell time and how to use decimals! He also is excited about building his literacy skills through learning games on the internet at the library. He also has his own library card now too! Way to go, student!!
– Dawn Hildebrand, Tutor

Zy’eire, 2nd Grade

Online

“Zy” is always ready to tackle a new challenge. His persistence and positive attitude are always really inspirational. I have seen his hard work and mindset reflected in his improved reading skills. He also loves to draw and be creative!

Yuki Jung, Online Tutor

Collin, 2nd Grade

Region 6

In the half year we have worked together, the thing that shines out about my 2nd grade tutee Collin is a blooming self-confidence. At first glance, one might think Collin is shy. In fact, though, he has a strong sense of who he is and an inspiring integrity, which have become more apparent as he gets more comfortable and trusting of me and our lessons. Collin teaches me what he needs to let this internal blossoming occur: uninterrupted silence as he works on a task, verbal support when he gets stuck and acknowledgement when he succeeds. Perhaps like other teachers, I come away from the lessons wondering who is teaching who.

Bonnie Insull, Tutor

Our Volunteers

Volunteers are the heart and soul of School on Wheels. In 2017, 2,029 volunteers tutored 3,370 students living in shelters, group homes, and motels. 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