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. Ou... Read more
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.
School on Wheels, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1993 by Agnes Stevens, a retired teacher. After reading Jonathan Kozol’s Rachel and her Children, Agnes realized the extent of homelessness in the USA. She began tutoring homeless kids in a park in Santa Monica, encouraging them to stay in school and participate in school activities.
Today, hundreds of volunteers work one-on-one with children whose homelessness prevents them from receiving the academic stability and help they desperately need. The heart of the School on Wheels program 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. They are the "wheels" of our program, reducing barriers to a fulfilling education by traveling to our students in shelters, libraries and schools across Southern California.
School on Wheels makes a difference in the lives of homeless children by offering:
One-on-one weekly tutoring with a volunteer
Backpacks and school supplies
Assistance and support in entering school
Learning Center located in the heart of Skid Row, Downtown Los Angeles
Tutoring in six major regions in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
I have been volunteering with School on Wheels for about 7 months and have really enjoyed the whole experience. Personally, it's been very gratifying getting to work with students in so much need, but also from an organizational standpoint I've really appreciated the communication and support from the tutor coordinator. Would highly recommend this as a volunteer opportunity, especially for busy people since you could do just 1 hour a week and really make a difference. I plan to continue volunteering with them as long as I live here and am able :)
by Dalia L. from Los Angeles, CA
It is important for each and every child to receive an education regardless of their status. Knowing that there are children who need further assistance in their education makes me want to help them that much more. I am a college student who growing up did not have anyone to mentor me or teach me how to do my homework. My parents did not speak Spanish so I had to fend for myself when when it came to getting the education I needed. These homeless kids do not have the resources necessary to pay for any tutors for further assistance, therefore I want to give my time to help them at no cost. In fact, I have already let my friends know that they should consider volunteering as well because all youth are the future and they need a good quality education and people who are willing to help them succeed through that journey.
I was a volunteer here for a couple of years. I will say that I believe in the organization's mission and it provides a great service to the most needed. I've experienced first hand the lives that they have touched through their work. That being said, I have had some bad experiences with staff here. It is a matter of being supported to do your work and treated with respect. As a volunteer you need certain things to do your job mostly supplies, and guidance on certain issues that may arise. I asked for these things and was downright ignored on many occasions. Upon bringing this up to upper management, again I found myself being ignored. I will say that as a volunteer you do this job not for any monetary benefit, but for the benefit of making a difference in someone's life. However, the Paid staff of a volunteer organization should do everything it can to see that their volunteers feel supported. Staff here are nice, but stick together and provide no accountability.