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NewsletterDecember 2010
thank you

For every time there is a season. This is the season to reflect and give thanks, a time to remember all that we have to be thankful for.  We are so grateful that we can help thousands of homeless students connect with their education through one of our programs; we are deeply appreciative of our generous donors, large and small, who make this happen and support our organization year after year; we give thanks for our fabulous volunteers, our team and our shelter and school partners.  My thanks giving list goes on and on and if I were to name all of you, it would be as thick as a telephone book.  It would be good reading though.
Many in our communities are not as fortunate.  The homeless child population has increased almost 50% in the past two years. Lack of affordable housing, poverty, and unemployment - the top three causes of family homelessness - will not diminish any time soon.  Coupled with huge cuts in education budgets, our homeless children are less and less likely to get any kind of education. How can a 7 year-old child learn when she has not slept the night before because she's scared and hungry and doesn't know where she'll sleep that night?  How can we expect a 15 year-old to care about graduating when he has to study in a closet because the shelter lights have been turned off?  

Those of you who are friends of School on Wheels are truly friends to these children. As the voices get louder and angrier, as people take sides on issues surrounding poverty and homelessness in America, I know you will not give up on our children.  They are the most forgotten and vulnerable in our society.  Their future is through education. This means staying in school, having the supplies and tools necessary to accomplish their work and gaining confidence through small successes (and kindnesses) each day. 

We are grateful that we have friends like you whose compassion and generosity allow us to reach out to the ever-increasing number of homeless students in our communities.  We welcome your ideas, insights and thoughts to help us achieve our mission of reducing the gaps in the education of homeless children from kindergarten through grade 12.

With deep gratitude and appreciation,

Catherine Meek
Executive Director

School on Wheels has nearly eight hundred tutors working every week with families and children living in homeless situations: emergency and transitional shelters, motels, group foster homes, cars and on the street.


 We want to thank every tutor for their commitment and dedication to their students.

Here are just a few of the amazing volunteers who make a difference every week in the lives of homeless children throughout Southern California.

We asked three Tutor Coordinators[1] to share their experiences. Click on their photos on the right, to read more.

[1] Tutor Coordinator - Volunteer who works with other tutors to match them with students and talks to parents about School on Wheels and how we can help their children.

character matters wallWe see more acts of kindness in a day than most people see in a month. 
We recently opened a new Learning Center in Skid Row and we invite you to visit and see the bright oasis you have created for our homeless students.

A special thank you goes to Sam Duncan and his outstanding team at OfficeMax and to Josh Fein, Cliff Neiman and Mike McGregor and their amazing teams. 

Our colorful Character Matters Wall is filled with the names of wonderful donors like Bob Morris of Paradise Cove Beach Café (who is hosting our annual holiday party again this year for 200 School on Wheels students) Diane Halle, Joann and Stan Benson and Marymont High School to name just a few.  Our supply room is filled with rows of backpacks and cabinets full of school supplies for our kids thanks to Friends of Third Street Elementary,  Michael Opell, Temples Judea, Beth Hillel and Shir Ami and many others.
We asked students at our Downtown Learning Center what they were thankful for.  Here are just a few of their answers (and their turkey hands.)
Aa'Laysha, 7 - I am thankful for School on Wheels because it is fun.
Mason, 8 - I am thankful for tutors because they help us study.
Jose, 11 - I am thankful for the tutors because they teach you new things.
Kayloni, 6 - I am thankful for the learning center because we get to play on the computer.
Tori, 11 - because you always know how to cheer me up.  Thank you for everything.

" Having someone who had genuine concern for my situation, both academic and personal, dedicate an hour of his time helped me stay focused in my endeavors. .....For a year and six months I was homeless, but the situation was never a measure of my capabilities. My tenacity has earned me commendable grades, insured daily attendance, and kept me tethered to my community."

Angela Sanchez - Former School on Wheels Student and Scholarship Recipient; now attending UCLA

The enhancement of 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 education possible.

Tutors help homeless children succeed - November 27th 2010.  Glendale News Press

NBC School Pride - November 19th 2010.  Former student Angela Sanchez is interviewed for this new TV show.

Homeless kids take the long ride to school. Reporter Alex Schmidt, National Public Radio - November 8th 2010

Visit our page on Global Giving
and help us raise $4,000 by the end of December 2010.

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