Category: In The News

Feb 10

School on Wheels Works To Break Skid Row Cycle For Homeless Youth


Thank you to Pat Harvey and CBSLA for highlighting our work with homeless students in Skid Row.

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – On any given night, there are roughly 47,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County, and many of them are children who simply want to be loved and to learn.

“We want the neighborhood to hear that there’s kids around, and we want the kids to feel safe, and to let them have a voice,” said Allison Maldonado, who runs the Skid Row Learning Center for School on Wheels.

School On Wheels works with homeless children to ensure that they don’t fall behind on their education, regardless their circumstances.

“Due to their current situation, they fail to see the connections between why it’s so important to stay in school and get that education,” Maldonado said. “They’re so focused on the now: ‘I need to eat tonight, where am I going to sleep tonight.’ They’re not as focused on learning for the test next week.”

The center helps as many as 45 students daily by providing a full meal and one-on-one time with a tutor. Most importantly, it provides a safe, quiet place for students to get their schoolwork done and stay caught up.

“Falling behind early has lifelong ramifications,” tutor Chris Chambers Goodman said. “So to the extent that we can at least help students try to keep up, we’re really doing a great service to the community.”

Once the kids finish their work, they get ready to make the walk back to the Union Rescue Mission, where many of them live.

“You do what you can in the time that you have them because you don’t know how long they’re going to stay,” Maldonado said.

While it’s only a quick three-block walk, it’s full of sights and sounds that can last a lifetime. But it’s also full of hope, something that’s not lost on the students or the people on the streets. As they walk, the children yell, “kids coming through!”

“It’s letting the kids yell and get all of their anger out,” said 8th grader Ashanti, who volunteers with School on Wheels. “And it’s also letting everybody on the streets know that they can stop what they’re doing before the kids get over there, and the kids can see them.”

Last year, School on Wheels worked with more than 2,200 volunteers and tutored nearly 3,500 students.

“As much as it’s hard to know that they are in this situation, the only thing we can do is remind them how to get out of it,” Maldonado said. “What they can do for themselves to grow and persevere and, most importantly, to break the cycle of homelessness.”

Nonprofit Works To Break Skid Row Cycle For Homeless Youth

Jan 31

New Regional Coordinator for School on Wheels

Ventura Breeze

School on Wheels is happy to announce that after a long search we have a new Regional Coordinator for Ventura County.  Angie Allmendinger has joined the team and will be working from our Resource Center in Ventura.  Before joining School on Wheels Angie earned her M.A. in American Studies in Germany and taught High School English is rural Japan.

School on Wheels is always looking for volunteers who want to make a positive difference in the life of a homeless student.

We are looking for volunteers as the list of homeless children that need our help is growing.  We are predicting that the number of families and children experiencing homelessness will increase significantly this year due to the lack of affordable housing, shelters closing and new government policies.

Dec 21

21st Century Solutions, NBC 4 and Telemundo fund Digital Learning

Thank you to 21st Century Solutions, NBC4 and Telemundo 52 for funding School on Wheels’ Digital Learning Centers.  Watch this short video to see how they are helping us and other nonprofits in  SoCal.

The grants support community organizations that are advancing neighborhoods forward through innovative programs with creative solutions to various social challenges. Hundreds of Southern California-based nonprofit organizations competed for a 21stCentury Solutions award ranging from $100,000 to $50,000 in the areas of Civic Engagement, Education, Environment, Jobs and Economic Empowerment, Media and Technology.

“Funding to these deserving organizations means Southern Californians will have more social services available to improve the lives across many areas in the region,” said Steve Carlston, President and General Manager, NBC4 Southern California. “Expanding community programs flourish and grow neighborhoods, and we’re thrilled to be at the forefront in making a difference.” “We are excited to provide local community-based organizations with funding opportunities to help expand their programming to serve the needs of our growing community,” said Celia Chavez, President and General Manager, Telemundo 52 Los Angeles. “We look forward to seeing the impact of these innovative programs for years to come.”

Nov 30

There are 63,000 homeless youths in L.A. County. These are the children of skid row

(Click on the image above to view the video from LA Times)

“These are the children of skid row — black, white, Latino. They have pink and red Adidas sneakers or thumbs in their mouths or studs that glint like diamonds in their ears or the first hint of hair above their lips. They’re sisters and friends who profess their love for each other, who like listening to music when they study, who talk in class without raising their hands.

“They could be any kids.”

Read the entire article from LA Times…

Nov 7

Actor Kevin Bacon Pays Surprise Visit To Kids At Skid Row Tutoring Center

(Click on the image above to view the video from CBS Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Dozens of children and volunteers received quite the surprise Saturday while attending a student appreciation party at the School on Wheels’ Skid Row Learning Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Bacon — who launched the non-profit Six Degrees to recognize organizations that are making a positive impact in the community — surprised more than 60 undeserved children during the party.

School on Wheels is a local non-profit organization that provides academic assistance to homeless children from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Their mission is to shrink the gaps in education and provide homeless children with the highest level of education possible.

In 2015, the program served nearly 4,000 students and has more than 2,200 volunteers.

Oct 21

School on Wheels is honored to announce that former student will join the Board of Directors

“I really enjoy advocating for education and being a voice for students who are normally overlooked. Education has always been important to me because it represents a springboard out of homelessness.” – Angela M. Sanchez

School on Wheels first met Angela when she was 17 and living at a homeless shelter with her dad. While living in shelters and motels, she completed high school with a 4.2 GPA and went on to college at UCLA.

Angela Sanchez earned her Master’s in Education with a focus in student affairs from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Volunteering with School on Wheels, while an undergraduate, she established the first university faction of the nonprofit at UCLA. Angela created college admissions and financial aid workshops tailored to the students’ needs in addition to volunteer recruitment, training, donor and community relations, and development.

As a graduate student, Angela provided the evaluation component to UCLA’s Philanthropy Lab and also worked in UCLA’s Alumni Affairs, assessing scholarship recipients’ feedback to engage alumni and encourage giving. Angela currently works as the Program Analyst for College Success at the ECMC Foundation and continues to provide motivational talks for students across Los Angeles. Her impressive background in program development, assessment and community building, in addition to her unique personal experience with homelessness, will be great assets to the School on Wheels board.

“Angela is a true Renaissance woman,” says Catherine Meek, Executive Director. “She is a talented education professional, soon to be published author and cartoonist, magician (member of the Academy of Magical Arts at the Magic Castle), blogger extraordinaire, and passionate education advocate for our students. I’ve known Angela for over seven years, and she will bring all her experiences, knowledge and skills to enhance our mission at School on Wheels.”

“I am so excited to welcome Angela Sanchez to our Board. Angela brings with her first hand experience of being homeless and working with a School on Wheels volunteer tutor while living in a shelter. She has transformed these life lessons to become a successful role model and an outspoken advocate of our mission. We look forward to working with Angela and sharing her passion.” – Joshua A. Fein, Board President