So much has changed since our founder Agnes Stevens started School on Wheels 20 years ago. It was a quiet beginning – a small seed, as one of our first (and ongoing) donors, Jan Miller called it. Agnes didn’t know where her vision would lead, but she knew she had to help homeless kids with their education. Little did she dream that 20 years down the road, School on Wheels would be tutoring over 2,000 students, hosting over 1,500 volunteers and working in six counties in Southern California.
While so much has changed, there is one thing that has remained constant: the support and friendship you and so many others like you have given us as we strive to carry Agnes’ vision forward. You have made the past 20 years possible; sustained us when times were tough; encouraged us to be creative; cheered us on as we served more and more students.
Shockingly, the number of children without a home continues to grow. In late 2011, California released an estimate of 350,000 children homeless statewide; we were horrified by how high this number was. It galvanized us into action: we developed a plan not only to dramatically expand our tutoring services but also to improve them. Our 3-Year Strategic Plan was implemented in 2012 with an audacious goal of tutoring more than 3,500 homeless children by 2014 – more than double the number we tutored in 2011. These are ambitious goals. We believe they must be. We are the only organization in Southern California that focuses solely on the education gaps of homeless students.
It is my great pleasure to report that you helped us achieve all our progress goals in 2012. You will read about the details of our goal successes in this newsletter. You will also read about the other side of the equation: the intangible success stories, the ones that make you smile and the ones that make your heart ache. These are not our success stories, they are yours. Thank you for the hope you have given to our students that they can have a chance for success through education. You have changed their lives.
With deep gratitude,