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

 View our 2016 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.

Ryleigh, 5th Grade

July 2017

Region 8

I enjoy learning things that I don’t know. I enjoy doing art projects, especially drawing and painting and lots of color. I have worked hard on learning fractions and multiplication. I would like people to know that I am very capable when it comes to doing schoolwork. When my little sister starts school, I will tell her to pay attention so she will know what to do.

Diego, 1st Grade

July 2017

Region 1

Diego is a very intelligent young man with a wicked sense of humor. When it comes to schoolwork, he is particularly gifted at math – and takes pride in solving sums as quickly as he can. A lack of confidence in his own reading ability has sometimes slowed him down, and so we’ve spent a large amount of time reading together. As a consequence, over the past year I’ve watched Diego’s reading skills grow exponentially and his level of interest in reading books has also surged – which has been a real delight to see. 

Chris Webster, Tutor

Charlie, 9th Grade

July 2017

Region 8

Tutor: “Why do you like this t-shirt?”
Charlie: “I love pugs; pugs are too cool for school”
But Charlie isn’t. When we first started tutoring together, Charlie did not like school one bit. His grades were not good and he hated homework. It was a huge struggle to get him to focus on any school work at all. He was failing most subjects.
It wasn’t easy but Charlie, to his credit, and despite many struggles in his life, kept coming to tutoring every week. Now, we read books together, his homework is always complete, and his grades are significantly improved. In fact, his recent grades included an A for science; and, B in math and language arts. It was one of the very few times I saw him genuinely proud of himself.
Tutor: “Why is school different for you now? Why are your grades so much better?”
Charlie: “Tutoring helps me focus. It makes me want to work harder because you believe I can. I even like to read now!”

Philemon, 2nd Grade

June 2017

Online

Philemon is an energetic, creative, and hilarious student. He is full of life and loves drawing. In addition, when he gets stuck on a difficult homework problem, he can stop, focus, and solve the problem. Then he does a quick victory dance and goes on with his artistic brilliance. His goofy, upbeat behavior always makes me laugh. Phi has a one-of-a-kind personality and is a delight to tutor. Congratulations Phi on this well-deserved award!

Nikil Grama, Philemon’s Online Tutor

Ashlyn, 1st Grade

June 2017

Region 3

I’ve been tutoring Ashlyn for almost two years and like this butterfly drawing she did for me she’s full of life. Ashlyn is bright, inquisitive and funny. She’s a born problem solver and always goes for sounding out a new word or finding the answer to a new math problem. These are great qualities to have as a student and even greater qualities to have in life. I’m Ashlyn’s tutor but I learn so much from her she could be tutoring me!

Elizabeth Hartog, Tutor

Vyctoria, 3rd Grade

April 2017

Online

Vyctoria  LOVES online tutoring. When other students are absent and cannot attend their online tutoring sessions, Vyctoria is always ready to jump in! Some of Vyctoria’s favorite things to do with her online tutors include reading stories, solving math puzzles, drawing and playing hangman! Vyctoria’s thirst for learning is contagious. Go Vyctoria!

Skid Row Learning Center

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