More Sites, More Students

tutor and student

Donor generosity has made it possible for SOWMA to launch three new program sites and to enhance the quality of education for more kids in new communities who are impacted by homelessness. School on Wheels has added sites at Randolph High School and the STARR Transition House in Brockton, and expanded tutoring services into Fall River at the Roy Street Shelter.

Randolph High School

Children who live in shelter face daily challenges that others do not, like finding privacy or a quiet place to concentrate on homework, that make it difficult to focus on their education. This is why Randolph Savings Bank made the commitment to provide support and enhance educational opportunities for children impacted by homelessness in the community and enlisted other companies to follow their lead. They chose to partner with School on Wheels because of the impact SOWMA has on each and every child. “While working with their tutors the kids don’t have to think about being homeless. They have a caring adult focused on just them and they get to focus on the things kids are supposed to worry about like Math and English,” says Jim McDonough, President and CEO of Randolph Savings Bank.

With the support of local business partners, School on Wheels opened a tutoring site last year at the Randolph Community Middle School. This year SOWMA expanded the program to meet the needs of older kids at Randolph High School. The new program offers consistency to students as they move on to the higher grades. Tutoring began in October with five new students and five tutors, and SOWMA anticipates serving more children as the school year progresses.

 

Fall River

SOWMA identified a need to provide educational support services for children living in shelter in Fall River and secured grant funding that allowed expansion to this new community. Fall River is among cities with the highest number of students impacted by homelessness in the state. After researching possibilities and developing a relationship with the Justice Resource Institute, SOWMA determined that tutoring in a shelter-based site provides the best opportunity to reach more students. School-aged kids who live at the Roy Street Shelter, which is run by JRI, now receive one-on-one tutoring. 

"I have a set of very dedicated and flexible volunteers," says SOWMA Site Coordinator, Kelly Ochoa. "Despite the rapid turnover of families in the shelter, the volunteer tutors come each week and work with any student who arrives, because they are so concerned about the academic needs of the students."

 

STARR Transition House

The Old Colony Y Transition House/Brockton STARR, is a longtime program partner of School on Wheels that provides a temporary home and stability for youths age 12 to 18 who are transitioning from one living situation to another. So, when they reached out last spring and asked SOWMA to provide educational support services to the children they serve at the STARR Transition House, it was a natural step to take. 

“School on Wheels has opened up a vast amount of resources that were previously not available to the youth we serve.  We are chronically struggling with barriers to youths’ education and partnering with SOWMA has worked to start breaking these barriers,” says Allison Tyler, Lead Clinician at STARR.  A youth that had been struggling in school has recently begun meeting with a SOWMA tutor and made the following statement: “He talks to me, he talks my ear off and then the next thing I know my homework is done; it’s like magic.”

As the number of homeless families in Massachusetts continues to rise, so does the need for academic support for the children who are impacted. The support of businesses and donors in our communities coupled with the dedication of our tutors and volunteers allows School on Wheels to provide stability, consistency and encouragement to students who face the many challenges of being homeless.

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School on Wheels - MA
100 Laurel Street
Suite 121
East Bridgewater, Massachusetts 02333

508.587.9091

Federal Tax ID 20-1020880
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