School on Wheels, Inc.

Rating: 5 stars   15 reviews

Issues: Education

Location: 83 S Palm Street Ventura CA 93001 USA

Mission: 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.
Results: In 2010, School on Wheels achieved the following milestones: Opened a new Learning Center in Skid Row, Los Angeles Tutored 1,400 students Recruited and trained 1,501 volunteer tutors Provided 6,270 students with backpacks filled with school supplies Distributed 454 school uniforms and 3,600 bus tokens Awarded three scholarships
Target demographics: Homeless Children K-12th Grade
Direct beneficiaries per year: 6000 Homeless students throughout Southern California
Geographic areas served: Southern California
Programs: 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 with a volunteer Backpacks, school supplies and school uniforms A toll-free number for kids to keep in touch with us (800-923-1100) Assistance in entering school Help in locating lost records Guidance for parents in educational matters for their children A learning center located in the heart of Skid Row Tutoring in seven major regions in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 95-4422640
8056411678
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

School on Wheels is such a wonderful organization to volunteer for. From the second I stepped into my training session to begin working with School on Wheels, I felt so welcomed and appreciated. I have been tutoring the same student for about 8 months now and it is one of the most rewarding parts of my week. I am so glad I became involved with this organization, and they are very organized! The regional coordinator do everything they can to make sure that your student has whatever resources they need and they take their time to answer questions and assist you with your tutoring. They even organize tutor appreciation get-togethers! Such a lovely group of people and I feel blessed to have found them.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Great volunteer opportunity, especially if you want something long term and you can commit for an hour a week

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This is a terrific organization! I've been involved for over five years and the staff is excellent. Most importantly, School on Wheels provides an opportunity for volunteers to make an important difference in the lives of children who need it.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

One on one tutoring with students. Serving as a board member.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

No organizational changes - it just needs more volunteers!

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Last November I volunteered to tutor a homeless child for one hour a week through a program called Schools on Wheels. `One hour a week?’ I thought. I can easily do that. School on Wheels At the volunteer orientation I learned all sorts of disheartening facts. There are 1.5 million homeless people in the US — 290,000 of them live in California and 14,000 live in my city of Los Angeles, which has the largest concentration of homeless people in the country. I confess that I harbored the stereotype that your typical homeless person is a middle-aged male with alcohol, drug and psychiatric problems, but it turns out that the average age of a homeless person in the US is about 9 years old. Single mothers and their children are the people you’re most likely to find living on the streets and in cars, rundown motels and shelters. Founder of School on WheelsThese kids often change schools three or four times a year and each time they do, they usually lose their friends and fall behind in their education. Most don’t tell their friends or teachers that they’re homeless. So they have problems at school and their teachers don’t know why. They move away suddenly, leaving friends who are angry and hurt, because they feel rejected. It’s no surprise that the school dropout rate of homeless children is high, which is why Agnes Stevens, a retired teacher, started School on Wheels 17 years ago. At the orientation we were told that the kids often show up to the tutoring sessions tired, hungry, sick, and burdened by the stresses of adult problems, including taking care of their parents and siblings. They often feel abandoned and neglected and are sometimes abused. If they’re in shelters they can wake up at 5 or 6am, wait to shower, often get their few belongings stolen, and are sometimes exposed to unsafe situations. They leave to go to school and the shelters don’t let people back in until the late afternoon. When they return, there’s little to no privacy and it’s noisy and hard to study. The tutor is often the only adult in their lives who pays attention to them. Many volunteers end up tutoring the same child for years. Part of what originally appealed to me about this program was that I was only required to volunteer one hour a week. But by the end of the orientation I realized that I was signing up for one child, not one hour. I was assigned to a 6 year old boy who lives in a battered women’s shelter. Who was this stranger I was committing to? Would I like him? One sunny December afternoon, I drove to south LA to the shelter where the boy lives. I got buzzed into the facility and met my volunteer coordinator. The shelter was threadbare, but clean and well-run by friendly people. There was even a small children’s room where I met the boy Victor (not his real name). He breezed in and joined us adults seated at the table who were filling out paperwork. I had been given a list of questions to ask him, which were designed to help us to get to know each other. But there was no need for me to ask him what his favorite color was, or whether he preferred chocolate or peanut butter. We connected immediately and it took me all of a nanosecond to recognize that he was one bright little kid. My volunteer coordinator left the room and by the time he returned, ten minutes later, Victor and I were already deeply engaged in doing his homework, which he informed me had to be done by the next day. The School on Wheels coordinator presented Victor with a new backpack full of fresh school supplies. Victor looked longingly at his new trove of treasure. “Do you want to take a break and look at what you got?” I asked. But he would not be deterred. “I want to finish my homework first.” The volunteer coordinator presented Victor with an eraser. The boy flipped it playfully in his palm. Suppressing a smile, he scrunched his brows, and asked, “Do I have to pay you for this?” “No,” the coordinator said kindly, suppressing his own smile, “It’s yours. You can pay me back after you graduate from college.” “I don’t know,” Victor perked up, “after college I’m going to make a lot of money and I’m gonna want to keep it all.” I was blown away. What 6 year old boy refuses the offer to examine new presents until he finishes his homework? My guess is that the college matriculation rate of a kid in his position is rather low. Yet Victor already sees himself graduating from college; he’s bright, disciplined and determined. My task, I thought, is not going to be how to help this kid catch up, but how to keep him academically challenged in an unchallenging school environment. I went home that day grateful that I had volunteered and excited about the journey ahead.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing my student catch up.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being able to make a difference in the life of a homeless student.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

great, friendly and welcoming.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make sure every homeless student had what they need to succeed in school

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

As a newly graduated college student, I was given the opportunity to put my time to great use. There are scores of homeless children all over the country, and most of them have only one parent. This organization efficiently matches donors(volunteers) with homeless children for after school tutoring. Since working with this non-profit I have seen a noticeable difference in the lives of the two students i tutor. They also do a great job following up with tutors, and providing backpacks, bus tokens and school supplies to students who can't afford them. I strongly recommend this organization to anyone in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and Ventura counties who has just an extra hour per week. School on Wheels change lives!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The hands on experience and the amazing interaction you get. My life has changed completely because of the positive perspective change working with this Nonprofit has given me!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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