2010 Program results
2010 Annual Report
What is more important for a child than learning? Our mission at School on Wheels is to help children learn. Not just any children; children without a home. Can you imagine how hard it is to learn when you don’t have a home? The statistics stacked against homeless students are staggering: they are nine times more likely to repeat a grade; four times more likely to drop out of school entirely; and 20% do not attend school at all. I forget sometimes how unaware people are, not simply about the existence of homeless children, but the enormity of the issue - 1.6 million homeless children annually in the United States; 292,624 children in California without a home; 56,000 in the school districts that School on Wheels serves from Santa Barbara to Orange Counties - and those are only the ones identified as homeless when enrolling in school each year. These are troubling times, especially for children. The economic crisis has permeated every aspect of what we do as an organization. Education budgets are being slashed, affordable housing – the number one reason for family homelessness in California – is almost non-existent, and the number of homeless families increases daily. More and more children are falling through the cracks and facing hunger, homelessness and abuse. Like most organizations, 2010 was a challenging year for School on Wheels. But we not only met the challenge, we embraced it and surpassed our own goals - we served more students than ever before, raised more money, recruited more volunteers and increased the number of donors. Our team worked hard to achieve these results and we know that we succeeded only because of you, our supporters, our friends, our community. We are deeply, truly grateful.
This report outlines the specific financial and program results we achieved in 2010. At a time when everything can seem overwhelming and hopeless, School on Wheels continues to provide hope to our most vulnerable and forgotten children. These students need our help, they need your help. Together, we can help give them what every child wants and needs: an opportunity to learn. As always, I welcome any ideas and suggestions you may have that will assist our students and our organization achieve our mission of enhancing educational opportunities and shrinking the gaps in the education of homeless children from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
2010 Program Results
With your help and generosity, we increased our support by 7.2% in 2010 and continue to develop a diversified funding plan. Our expenses increased by 6.6%, with all of that increase resulting from improvements to our program services.
We are fortunate indeed to have donors who care deeply about homeless children. In 2010, foundations like The Ahmanson Foundation helped fund our new Learning Center in Skid Row; Amgen Foundation generously supported us, both with substantial funding and wonderful employee volunteers; The Mark Hughes Foundation has funded us
generously and unfailingly for the last six years; NBC Universal Foundation funded not only our Believe, Understand, Succeed program developed for homeless high school youth, but also our Learning Center in Skid Row. We are honored to be supported by many family foundations such as the Sawchuk Family Foundation, the Shrontz Family Foundation, and our friends at the Looker Foundation.
Bob Morris and his amazing family and staff at the Paradise Cove Beach Café in Malibu hosted the best holiday party for over 200 of our students, with the help of Steve Dahlberg and the California Highway Patrol. Henry and Andrea Burroughs provided healthy snacks for our students in Skid Row every single month; and, the great band My Morning Jacket gave us proceeds from one of their concerts at the Greek Theater.
A complete listing of our generous donors can be viewed on our web site at www.schoolonwheels.org/pages/friends.
Since 1993, School on Wheels has been helping reduce the gap in educational opportunities for homeless
children from kindergarten through grade 12. In 2010, through our programs, we served over 6,000 homeless children. We are committed to helping more this year.
In 2010, 1,501 volunteers tutored 1,400 children. These tutors went every week to a shelter, or a library or a book store to help their students solve math problems, learn to read, complete their homework. They showed them how to use a computer, how to apply to college, and took them on campus tours.
“It’s a privilege to serve with School on Wheels. I feel very blessed to be able to spend time with my student Jordan each week. The bond we’re developing is very special. It is an amazing vehicle for giving many kids hope, who may not have had it before.” -Chris Sutherland, Volunteer Tutor, Los Angeles
Other volunteers taught art classes, fixed computers, provided legal services, performed music and poetry
recitals, built databases – in total, we had the privilege of almost 90,000 volunteer hours last year.
In July, we opened a beautiful new Learning Center in Skid Row that allows us to serve over 250 students a year from nearby shelters and missions and provides a quiet haven for them to access computers
and work with tutors. We expanded our operating hours to include Saturdays so that we can offer classes such as nutrition education, career counseling, and writing workshops. The new Center also provides space for program staff and allows us to train and offer additional workshops to more volunteers.
In 2010, School on Wheels distributed 6,270 brand-new backpacks filled with school supplies. The potential of clean paper and colored pencils is a powerful talisman for a child with so little else in her life.
We facilitated 157 re-enrollments into public schools by helping parents gather needed records such as birth certificates and immunization records, and completed the paperwork needed to get their kids re-enrolled in school – all in one day versus the two weeks it can take them on their own.
We funded 454 school uniforms that many children need in order to be allowed into school or to stay out of detention.
We provided 3,600 bus tokens so that children can get to school and so that their parents have the opportunity to be there with them on their first days.
We awarded three scholarships in 2010 – to a former student at UCLA; to a current student to purchase school books and supplies; and to members of a family to attend a junior lifeguard school.
“School on Wheels is an amazing organization. Thank you for working hard to make volunteering meaningful. Working with the kids has given me the opportunity to grow a lot as a person. Meeting other volunteers makes me feel that people do care. Cheers to making the world a better place!” -Chiaw Yong Pang, Tutor, South LA Learning Center
Tutor and Student at Downtown Learning Center
Students with Backpacks