Author: Lisa Pullins

Sep 13

‘Y&R’ Joins Forces with School on Wheels

For those planning to attend “‘” Fan Event on Saturday, August 19, you’ll not only get the chance to meet your favorite stars from the top rated daytime drama series, you’ll also be able to ensure those less fortunate can start the new school year on the right track.

In partnership with School on Wheels, a Los Angeles based non-profit organization specializing in tutoring and mentoring for homeless children in grades K-12, fans can drop off school supplies as part of the School on Wheels school supply drive. The organization’s mission is to provide each child in need with a brand new backpack filled with much-needed school supplies.

As a thank you for your donation, each attendee who donates new school supplies will receive a free raffle ticket good for an exclusive prize from the show.

Note: In order to receive a raffle ticket, the value of the supply donated must be $5.00 or greater. Additionally, school supplies must be new; no cash donations will be accepted.

Sep 8

Tutors of the Month – September 2017

Region 3 – Westside:

Ryan Hong – School on Wheels plays a vital role in improving homeless children’s lives by helping to narrow gaps in their education. I was looking for a volunteering opportunity where I could have a direct impact on a child’s life, and I am so glad that I found School on Wheels. It has been a truly amazing past few months to watch my student build her confidence in math before she started a new school year. I was initially nervous about tutoring because I didn’t have prior experience in teaching. However, School on Wheels provides resources that I can use to ensure that each tutoring session is meaningful. My student and I had the most productive summer together!


Region 2 – South LA:

Lina SuhI first began tutoring with School on Wheels because I believe education is absolutely important to achieve a healthier society, and everyone deserves equal access to learn. Gabriella was having trouble in math when we first began studying, and we would preview her unit tests during our sessions. I teach her methods and tricks to solve the problem and make sure that she understands the concepts. Then I do my best to ensure that she doesn’t become dependent on my help, constantly reinforcing, “check your work,” “you know this,” “it’s all you,” “take it step by step.” She is very eager to excel and I think she has gotten more careful in her work and confident of her skills in our time together.


Madelaine Behrens – I love my experience with online tutoring so far! Although I also like in-person tutoring, the online experience is great because I am able to tutor even from here in Mozambique, and I’ve noticed that students are able to focus more consistently using the online tutoring program. My online experience has taught me the importance of being creative: sometimes it takes a few different ways of explaining something before it “clicks” for a student. I love checking in each week with my student, Myiesha, and getting to know more about her summer, and I am so grateful to be able to help the same population I loved helping while at USC. Thank you, School on Wheels!

Sep 8

Students of the Month – September 2017

Region 2:

Gabriella (5th Grade) 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,


Region 3:

Krystyna’s (7th Grade) 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


Carnell (10th Grade) 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.)


Sep 8

School on Wheels Partners With Rise High

When high school student Kia Reid’s brother was arrested, she withdrew emotionally, missing more than a week of school. But in her absence, Reid didn’t fall through the cracks.

Her teachers texted and called to check on her.

“They told me [they were] not here to pressure me, but they wanted me to keep on track with my schoolwork.,” Reid said. “They were really patient, and even came over to my house and brought me my work and went over all [of it] with me.”

Reid graduated in the spring with nine others in the first culminating class from Da Vinci RISE High, a new model of education for disconnected youth in foster care, those experiencing homelessness or students with other needs that schools have traditionally been ill-equipped to meet.

The Los Angeles-area school expanded this fall to a second site at A Place Called Home, a South L.A. community center and social service agency. The expansion was aided by a $10 million grant from the XQ Super School Project, a competition started by Laureen Powell Jobs (the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs) that is designed to re-imagine the design of American high schools.

The growth enabled the school, which currently serves 40 students at its original site, to take on up to 80 additional students this year, as well as expand its service offerings. The new site deliberately holds open slots for mid-year transfers, ensuring access for transient students who are at greater risk of high school dropout.

In California, only 58 percent of foster children graduate from high school by age 18, according to a 2013 report from WestEd. A recent survey of formerly homeless youth reported that two-thirds said homelessness had a significant impact on their education, making it hard to remain and do well in school.

The goal of RISE High is to design a school from the ground up based on a deep understanding of the needs of disconnected youth. Driving this effort is a focus on creating a school accommodating to student needs, where students form deep relationships with staff and each other and are surrounded by support.

For example, to help students whose schedules or living situations make daily attendance impractical, students take classes on a flexible schedule, with work completed in on-site classes as well as in one-on-one tutorials with teachers and even away from school. Projects are designed to be completed out in the community, and students have access to an online learning platform. Tutors come to students wherever they are living, through a partnership with the non-profit School on Wheels.

Read the full article from the Chorinical of Social Change here.

Aug 21

Our Tutor is a Superhero!

Nancy, Lyann and Shelene

Lyann’s mom, Shelene, heard about School on Wheels from the shelter they were staying at four years ago, when Lyann was just 8. We caught up with them a couple of weeks ago to find out how they are all doing.

“It’s not just homework that Nancy helps Lyann with, but life,” said Shelene. “She confides in Nancy and tells her what’s going on at school rather than me. She tells Nancy her problems and struggles–and she has a lot. She has been through two different surgeries and struggles with hearing and reading.

Nancy is like family now. She has become a friend/mentor/big sister to Lyann. Sometimes I am so exhausted and busy, and Nancy is my superhero backup! She takes time out of her life to be here every week. She rides her bike in the LA heat to get here, and she goes above and beyond as a tutor. She turns up religiously every week for my child! What can I do to express how thankful I am? As a mom, it makes you feel good to have someone there for your child. Nancy is not a pushover, though; she knows when it’s time to work and when it’s time to play! There are no words to express my gratitude for Nancy. If School on Wheels didn’t exist, we wouldn’t have Nancy in our life. She is the perfect tutor, and I know your other tutors must be just as nice because they are doing this for free, not because they are being told to but because they want to help kids in our community. It takes a village to raise kids, and I want to thank School on Wheels for being there for me and my family.”

Nancy Dobbs Owen is a professional dancer and became a volunteer tutor with School on Wheels in 2013.

“I’m not sure how great a tutor I am. I am really more of a big sister. I turn up every week and make sure to be on time. I think being reliable has been a big help to the family and especially for my student’s mom, Shelene. I love Lyann’s mom. She is active in the kids’ school and has raised four beautiful children who are polite, kind and respectful. I have such huge respect for her. Lyann is going into 6th grade, but she has a number of learning disabilities. She had a stroke/seizure when she was 6, and this left her with partial hearing. She has trouble reading; she sees words upside down and back to front. Her vocabulary is amazing, though, and she uses words like ‘astounding’ and ‘inspirational’! She does get frustrated with school and can give up on herself quickly. That said, she loves math and science and is curious about the world and the way it works. I work with her teachers and let them know that they have backup. I am now Lyann’s emergency contact at school. The whole family is very important to me. They have become my family, my people. I am grounded with Lyann.

I always advocate for School on Wheels and try to get my friends involved, but emphasize that if you’re gonna do it, do it! If you bond with a student, you have to treat your relationship with respect. If you’re not willing to go there, do something else. When you are working with kids, they need someone that does not judge them. They need to know they are safe and that you are there to answer their questions, be their advocate: be truthful, loving, demanding, but always kind.

The day after the 2016 election we had a session. I didn’t know how politically aware Lyann was, and I learned that day that she is very aware of the world and what is going on in it. It was the hardest tutoring session we’ve had. Lyann was upset. Her mom is from Belize, and Lyann didn’t want her mom sent away by THAT MAN. She said he didn’t like people that looked like her, that the country would become meaner, that the ‘girl was smarter.’ She is a very old soul and worries about her family. She wants to protect people and be a good person. She cares. I tried to alleviate her fears, but that was my hardest tutoring session to date.”