Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness

by School on Wheels, Inc.
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Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Support for Students Devastated by Homelessness
Nov 19, 2021

2021 Update

Since 1993, School on Wheels (SOW) has served the educational needs of children experiencing homelessness in shelters, motels, group foster homes, campgrounds, vehicles, or on the street, working to remove the barriers that stand between them and their education by providing volunteers who work with them on the one-on-one basis they so desperately need during a time of great stress and fear.

These children are the ones most impacted by school closures – an action that has removed stability from their lives and separated them from caring adults who can help tame their trauma responses. This under-resourced community lacks computers and internet access. The persistent digital divide, more apparent now than ever before, has greatly impaired our students’ ability to continue learning.  Before COVID-19, students could access lessons at school, and work with their SOW volunteer tutor at libraries, book stores or coffee shops.  Now the issue of computers and internet access has become a major challenge for them as they continue to stay in over-crowded shelters and motels. 

Over the past 18 months, we pivoted along with the rest of the world to an online existence, finding ways to adapt our programs – even improve some aspects in order to support our students despite the challenges. This year, we hope to tutor 2,000 students experiencing homelessness, reconnecting them with the education they need to escape a life of poverty, primarily through our high-impact tutoring services and also through the ancillary support that addresses specific needs (school re-enrollment, devices and internet access, school supplies). We adapted our practices for the pandemic circumstances – and in doing so found new and important ways to help our students, such as supporting their social emotional needs, bringing their parents into the process to foster a love of learning, providing Chromebooks/devices, and improving their proficiency with digital tools and strategies.

In order to optimize our return to normalcy, we developed and distributed online surveys to our partners, families, and tutors to assess their thoughts, opinions, and feelings regarding in-person and distance learning, and also to gain insight into safety measures, comfortability, and capacity to implement in-person tutoring. While the full responses are not yet in, we anticipate continuing to tutor on a primarily remote basis for the rest of the year. We intend to use the time carefully: we are participating in in-person pilot tutoring programs, working with children living in Skid Row and other large shelters, taking all required precautions and CDC guidelines into account. Our plan is to tutor these students in socially distanced pods, using volunteers who have been vaccinated/tested. This will allow us to assess new tutoring strategies as we move (hopefully) towards in-person tutoring in the new year.

Our focus work will target multiple fronts:

  • We will continue to expand our Literacy Program for students in grades K-4. Literacy is the single most significant predictor of future academic success, such that helping children with this key subject – especially at this stage – will have important implications for the rest of their lives.
  • We will continue to enhance our Believe/Understand/Succeed (BUS) Program for older students, providing these youth with a dream of the future that is compelling enough to keep them pursuing school – and the path to get them there.
  • We will continue our practice of offering Chromebooks/kindles/devices and internet access to the students who need them.
  • We will continue to improve the socio-emotional supports we provide our students; and we will continue to support parents in the educational process.

Our major priority will always be to help our students in any way we can in the face of the uncertainties and challenges enveloping the entire world.

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Organization Information

School on Wheels, Inc.

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @schoolonwheels
Project Leader:
Sinead Chilton
Ventura, CA United States
$6,032 raised of $75,000 goal
 
70 donations
$68,968 to go
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