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.

Carnell, 10th Grade

September 2017

Online

Before moving to Victorville with his family, Carnell never had his own tutor. Since joining the School on Wheels online tutoring program in the High Desert, Carnell enjoys tutoring twice a week with two different online tutors – one from Cupertino and one from Washington. Carnell’s tutors describe him as a curious learner with a natural inclination towards entrepreneurship and business.

– Ian Chan, Program Administrator (School on Wheels, Inc.)

Gabriella, 5th Grade

September 2017

Region 2

Gabriella is a very passionate student. She gets very excited talking about her friends and family members, and even when doing her math problems. She rushes through them so eagerly that I have to remind her to slow down. She has a strong sense of loyalty and righteousness and tells me stories of how she stood up for a friend, or asked to sing an extra song at church for her father on Father’s Day. Her nature is beautifully genuine.

Lina Suh, Tutor

Krystyna, 7th Grade

September 2017

Region 3

Krystyna’s most impressive quality is her deep sense of self-awareness; she very well understands her own strengths and weaknesses. In the beginning of summer, we developed a plan together. Every week we practiced math skills. Krystyna sometimes felt discouraged, but instead of giving up, she wanted to discuss the thought process that she used to solve problems. With this approach, she rarely made the same mistakes again.  It has been truly amazing to see Krystyna build confidence in her least favorite subject!

Ryan Hong, Tutor

Davion, 2nd Grade

August 2017

Region 5

I have recently been working with Davion, a 2nd grade student, who is inquisitive, bright and very sweet. He loves to read and, though he has some challenges, he is always excited to learn. He especially loves reading his favorite books, the Wimpy Kid series. The best compliment I got from him recently was when he asked me, “Can you come again tomorrow?” How could I ask for anything more!

Theresa Sterling, Tutor

Angela, 4th Grade

August 2017

Region 6

Angela is a vibrant, curious and loving young girl with a passion for singing. She loves singing so much that it’s her dream to become a famous singer someday. In fact, I found that one way of inserting fun into our tutor sessions together is to sing. For example, I will sing (though I’m a horrible singer), “Angela, what is 7×2?”, and Angela will sing back, “it’s 14!”. Angela struggles with math, but she is motivated to learn, and I found that by making tutoring fun in a way that appeals to her, she enjoys it and learns more. I always look forward to our tutoring sessions together, and it’s very rewarding to hear how she’s improving and building self-confidence in various areas of her life. Together, Angela and I make a great team. 

Stephanie Swenseid, Tutor

Angel, 8th Grade

August 2017

Region 9

Angel is a highly intelligent student. He almost does not even have to try. He is very perceptive and a high achiever. Angel tries his best to excel in all of his classes. All that work has earned Angel the Mason award. Only 20 students in all of the Garden Grove school district received this honor. This award is contingent on grades and adversity. Considering he has lived through a rough couple of months, Angel still finds a way to get his homework done and be an active participant in his classes. Angel hopes to join the Air Force after high school.
Not only does Angel excel in his studies, he has a kind heart. There is one example I will never forget. We were sitting next to a disabled woman who was having a hard time navigating the printer. Angel noticed her struggle and was quick to offer her his help. He walked her over to the printer and proceeded to help her access and print her papers. I am very proud to have the opportunity to work with Angel. He is an all-around awesome young man!

Diana Ly, Tutor

Giselle, Age 10

August 2017

Region 8

Giselle is such a delight. Every session Giselle is well-mannered, eager to learn and a sweet girl to spend time with. In addition to being a wonderful person, Giselle is a great student and puts a lot of effort into her studies. Whenever we practice her spelling words, she is always well prepared. She is always willing to complete her homework and finishes it with great penmanship and presentation. My favorite moments with Giselle are watching her creativity blossom. Giselle is a fantastic artist and very clever at putting together a thoughtful poem or handmade book.

Stacey Millet, Tutor

Emma, Age 7

August 2017

Region 8

My first session with Emma, she was not very talkative and was quite nervous. However, by the end of the session, she warmed up to me and was able to share a small bit about herself. Now, months later, Emma’s confidence has grown so much. She loves to ask questions and has a great amount of curiosity for learning! It has been a tremendous joy to spend time with her and watch her develop her reading, writing and language skills. Each day we end our sessions with playing games or reading a fun book.Her favorite activity is to look at pictures of my dog. It has been a joy getting to know this thoughtful and kind girl and her family. I even attended her birthday party, which was very special.

Stacey Millet, Tutor

Mickey, 6th Grade

August 2017

Region 3

Mickey was a quiet kid when I first met him, tapping his foot nervously and a bit apprehensively. After a few sessions, we got to know each other, and I figured out that we needed to break up the session a bit more by doing 15 minutes of work and then taking a short break. We usually do word searches as a reward, and he really seems to enjoy that. After tutoring him for a while, he is now much more comfortable. We always chat about what’s new, and the mentoring part of it has been great. He is a really sweet kid with a calm demeanor and will never say “no I don’t want to,” which is half the battle. It has been great getting to know him.

Armin Szatmary, Tutor

Tamya, 6th Grade

August 2017

Online

Tamya has been with our program for over 2 years. While she used to cry and refuse tutoring, she eventually began volunteering and now she loves the opportunity to connect with her 1-on-1 tutor online! It has been a joy to witness growth in Tamya not just in her academics but also in her curiosity and independence. She has developed into a kind and assertive spirit thanks in part to our wonderful Skid Row Learning Instructors, Allison Maldonado and Jason Wright. We only wish Tamya the best as she continues her journey with School on Wheels. Go Tamya!

Ian Chan, Program Administrator (School on Wheels, Inc.)

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