"Really, I think the magic and the secret sauce of School on Wheels is the mentoring. And it's the one on one. It's the same caring adult that shows up every week for them, to let them know that they are important and so is their education." - Cheryl Opper, Executive Director of School on Wheels of Massachusetts (SOWMA) 
At a time when family homelessness continues to soar, SOWMA is being honored for successfully addressing the root causes of poverty, one student at a time. SOWMA has been recognized by Citizens Bank and New England Cable News (NECN) as their 2014 Champion in Action® for Youth Programming. SOWMA was selected from 150 applicants for providing customized support services and an academic lifeline for youth impacted by homelessness. 
As a 2014 Champion in Action® winner, SOWMA receives a $35,000 grant award, increased volunteer support, professional mentoring, marketing, publicity, and many other benefits. As a result, the organization will be able to expand its efforts to strengthen academic support services for more students, heighten awareness about family homelessness in Massachusetts, and provide opportunities for volunteers to make a meaningful difference in their communities. (Read more on Huffington Post)

View Photos from our Champion in Action Reception


President Barack Obama launched 2014 by declaring January National Mentoring Month through a presidential proclamation. This 13th annual public awareness campaign is aimed at expanding quality mentoring programs to connect more of our nation’s young people with the mentors they need to reach success at school, at home, and in their communities and in the workforce. During National Mentoring Month, we celebrate the power of mentoring relationships, and the men and women who enrich the lives of our young people. Mentors selflessly give their time and experience to help our youngest generation, and ultimately our country, succeed.

It is really different living at the shelter with my family.  I was used to walking to my friend’s house in Quincy to play with her, but I can’t anymore because we moved far away.  Instead, I walk outside to the playground to play on the swing at the shelter.

I was sad when school started because I couldn’t see my friend Emily, she lives in Quincy too.  I was mad because I couldn’t see my nana after school when I moved to the shelter. Now I see my nana on the weekends and I play on her computer.  We watch family movies together and laugh.

Citizens Bank and New England Cable News (NECN) have chosen School on Wheels of Massachusetts (SOWMA) as the first 2014 Champion in Action® in the category of youth programming.

“School on Wheels of Massachusetts is a Champion in Action for the services they provide that enable homeless children to flourish in school and in life,” said Jerry Sargent, president at Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “The impact of this program supports our focus on strengthening communities and the belief that every child deserves the chance to succeed in school.”

 -submitted by Jackie Hylton, SOWMA Education Director

Sana is serving as the Resource Specialist at SOWMA. Sana recently graduated from UMass Boston with a degree in psychology and is interested in pursuing a career in educational psychology. Sana’s main responsibility at SOWMA is developing resources for our tutoring sites.  Recently, she has been busy creating Skill Development Activities and Theme Based Projects. The Skill Development Activities (SDAs) are short activities that tutors can use with their student to strengthen a specific skill with which the student needs help. Sana has already developed four SDAs based on the report card results of students in our program. All of the SDAs are aligned with the Common Core standards. The Theme Based Projects (TBPs) are another resource that provides an enriching experience for the students. TBPs have a central theme with several activity options that align with the Common Core standards. These activities provide students with an opportunity to explore an area of interest and the ability to choose the activities that are interesting to them. Sana has just completed the first TBP, which will be about dinosaurs.

This blog post was submitted by  Sana Haque, Resource Specialist & Commonwealth Corps Member 

I enjoy serving as the Resource Specialist at School on Wheels of Massachusetts (SOWMA) where I design skill development activities and theme-based projects for our students. My responsibilities pertain to the increased use of the educational resources at SOWMA’s tutoring sites in Massachusetts. The activities I design provide the tutors with suggested activities, following the Common Core and MA State educational standards, which they can work on with their students using the resources available. 

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