Aug 21

‘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.

Aug 21

Students ‘Make Connections’ with Creative Summer Projects

Making Connections, our 2017 Summer Program, focused on getting students to read and respond to a text making text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections. Studies have shown that making these sorts of connections strengthens reading comprehension and increases reader engagement. Students selected a book from this list or chose their own. For the final project, tutors worked with students on a creative interpretation of their book: some wrote epilogues, some created shoebox projects, and some drew illustrations.

In the slideshow above, you will see the wide variety of wonderful projects our students put together. Here are descriptions of some the projects in the words of our tutors and their students.

Amos, Grade 11: “Amos read The Hate U Give and wrote an epilogue to it. He has a personal connection to someone who was shot and killed in what sounded like a hate crime. We have been very open in talking about prejudices, ignorance, and what he faces in life as a young man of color.”

Jazlyn, Grade 2. Book: A Bad Case of Stripes. In her own words: “Camilla Cream won’t eat lima beans even though she loves them, because kids at school will laugh at her. So she got covered in stripes, until a lady told her she should eat lima beans. So she did, and her stripes disappeared. Something like this happened to me, when my friends at school laughed at me for drinking a CapriSun. They said “that’s for little kids!” I told them, “I don’t care I love them, so so what?!” And I still drink them, because I like them!”

Jackie, Grade 2. “We read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, followed by If You Give a Pig a Party and If You Give a Dog a Donut. We also read about mice in one of the books in the series of Getting to Know Nature’s Children. In accordance with the theme of text – text-to-world, text-to-text, and text-to-self – Jackie completed colored index cards with sentences to address these various connections in the books. The project is over five feet in length.”

Caleb, Grade 7. “Caleb read Diary of A Wimpy Kid, written by Jeff Kinney. For the final project, he made text-to-self connections by drawing comic panels.”

Jadyn, Grade 5: “The book we read is Grace for President. We are working on catching up to grade level. She really responded to the book and she is really knowledgeable about history.”

Humberto, Grade 11. Book: Wonder: “Humberto wrote a letter to the main character.”‘

Jenna, Grade 3: “This summer, we read Jamaica and Brianna. For her making connections summer project, she made a comic story based on a personal experience.”

Jewelz, Grade 3: “Jewelz and I read A Bad Case of Stripes. For her final project, she sewed a Camilla Bean pillowcase.”

Krystyna, Grade 6. Book: Serafina’s Promise: “Krystyna wrote a letter to the book’s main character, Serafina.”

Ifrika, Grade 1. “Ifrika read Grace for President during the summer. Based on this book she did a project summarizing 5 important elections around the world. This helped her understand the concept of elections, candidates, campaigns, slogans and promises. She also learned about various countries. I hope to instill in her the love of learning and acceptance of other countries – which I hope she will use to learn the best from every culture and bring back for local and global contribution.”

Aug 18

Three Easy Ways to Get Ready For Back To School

The end of summer and beginning of the new school year is a time of excitement and anticipation for both students and parents alike. School is one of the few stable, secure places in the lives of homeless children, a place where they can acquire the skills needed to escape poverty. And you, our wonderful friends and supporters, help students understand how critical being in school and learning are.
Here are three ways you can help!


1. Apply to become a Volunteer Tutor

Our team has been filling backpacks and delivering school supplies to all our students. With the new school year starting, we need tutors more than ever to help our students. That’s where you come in! Sign up to become a volunteer or refer a friend. Give a child a chance to start the school year off right.

Apply Now!

 

2. Shop for School Supplies

Every homeless child that we meet receives a backpack filled with school supplies. In 2016 we distributed over 7,500 backpacks, along with school supplies, uniforms and bus tokens.

Next time you are shopping for school supplies for your family, why not pick up some extra and send them to School on Wheels?

Please note – We only accept and distribute new backpacks and school supplies.

You can view our student wish list here.

 

 

3.  Donate

The National Education Association has research to show that the average family will spend about $200 per elementary student this year, and that cost rises to $330 and $375 for middle and high school students, respectively. With your support, we can continue to provide supplies and educational resources to our students year round.

Donate Now!

 

Aug 18

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.”

 

Aug 14

Q95.9 FM Radio Station – Back to School Drive for Homeless Students

 

On Thursday, August 10th, Q95.9 FM invited School on Wheels Regional Coordinator for Ventura County, Angie Allemdinger, to talk about our program and why homeless children need our help. Thanks to Q95.9 FM and Katherine Murillo for hosting a back to school drive for the students we serve in the community.

 

Aug 14

For Homeless Children, Lessons In Stability

Story by Susan Hoffmann
Photos by Gina Long

Every Wednesday, Lisa Rodriguez drives to a homeless shelter to tutor *Alma. When the weather’s nice, they sit outside on the wide front porch. “She likes to do science projects, so it’s perfect to be outdoors.”

Rodriguez is a tutor for the Los Angeles-based nonprofit School on Wheels. She’s one of roughly two thousand volunteers working with a nearly invisible population: children growing up homeless.

“These children are at an unimaginable disadvantage,” said Catherine Meek, executive director of School on Wheels. “Their families may move two or three times a year, uprooting the children, causing gaps in their learning.” School on Wheels removes barriers that keep these children out of school — tracking down lost records needed to enroll, filling backpacks with school supplies, and providing weekly one-on-one tutoring sessions.

Volunteer tutors are at the heart of their program. Rigorously screened, they agree to a minimum one-year commitment. School on Wheels then matches them with a student, based on the volunteer’s skills and the needs of the student. “We know the better the match,” said  Meek, “the greater the long-term success.”

Mona Tse, another School on Wheels volunteer, has tutored 15-year-old *Martin for two years. Once a week, she leaves work and walks to the public library down the street.

“Mona helps me in stuff I need help in,” Martin said of his tutor. “She puts a lot of effort to help me strive.”

His school recommended the program to his mother as a way to keep him on track. His grades have improved with tutoring and he’s found acceptance at school. “I was just elected to the Associated Student Body,” he said. “I get to set up fun activities like pep rallies and dances.”

This family had a specific need. “We didn’t have the internet,” Martin’s mother explained. They came to the library for a connection but still couldn’t keep up. “If you missed an online assignment or teacher report, you might slip behind by weeks.”

“Teachers assume you have electronics,” Martin said. “And if you tell them you don’t have them, they don’t believe you.”

For homeless families, acquiring the materials and skills to succeed in a digital learning environment is crucial for a child’s success. Many schools, like the one Martin attends, are setting aside textbooks, with their printed examples and worksheets, in favor of homework posted online. With Tse’s help, the family has become savvy with technology. “Mona has helped us stay on track. I’m so grateful for that,” said Martin’s mother.

Tse admitted her good luck being matched with Martin, who comes every week, eager to learn. She had volunteered before, she said, in high school and college, but had taken a break to establish her career. “I was itching to get back into the community,” she said. “I know I can only do so much, but having this impact on the community to help people, that’s something I wanted to be a part of.”

Last year, School on Wheels sent their volunteers to libraries and shelters and public places to tutor more than three thousand students across Southern California. But this effort is only part of a solution to a mounting emergency in this region, where rising rents and stagnant incomes are driving more people from their homes.

Read the full story from 500Pens.org here.