Imani - College Student

“It's learning from someone who wants you to grow.” 

Imani is all smiles as we celebrate National Mentoring Month!  She shared her progress report before heading back to college for spring semester. Once a high school student facing homelessness, today she's beaming as a college junior and one of 56 college students in our Bridge Mentoring Program

Jim Whalen - SOWMA Mentor

“People who help get far more out of it.”

Recently retired after 45 years as an information technology specialist, Jim learned of School on Wheels through his church, Saints Martha and Mary Parish of Lakeville, MA.  He’s now guiding two young adults impacted by homelessness through a GED program. He’s also setting a noble example for his own grown children. “There’s a lot of hurt in the world and you don’t have to go far to help,” he said. Here's to one of our many unsung heroes and a salute to National Mentoring Month!

“Share your sparkle wherever you are.”  – Dodinsky

It was a busy year in SOWMA’s Community Room, where we receive, inventory and customize backpacks and school supplies.  This “Tools for School” program is part of our three-tiered Pathways to Success, which includes tutoring and mentoring in addition to school supplies. This year alone we outfitted more than 4,500 students with customized grade-level backpacks, a number that constitutes nearly 20% of the student homeless population in our state. 

None of this could happen without our volunteers.  Some, like those featured above, are graduating from high school or college, and will continue making a difference and sharing their sparkle as they pursue their next big thing! 


Backpacks were replaced by SOWMA's Summer Reading Bags this week as more than 280 students  bid adieu to homework in exchange for summer break -
and the scene was bittersweet.

Our eighteen tutoring sites were ripe with fresh fruit, pizza and ice cream to mark the end of another wonderful year of academic achievement.

Thank you to our volunteer tutors, program partners and sponsors like Wells Fargo, all of whom are paving the way for a brighter future for kids. 

"Here in Massachusetts, we want to help support the needs of our neighbors and ensure youth in need have access to tutoring, mentoring and
educational opportunities," said Briana Curran, VP, Community Relations and Communications for Wells Fargo.

Celebrating our volunteers with a shout out to a few in 2019!  

We were honored to celebrate our many outstanding volunteers at an awards ceremony recently, courtesy of the Fine Arts Cafe of Brockton,
a catering venue at Brockton High School where food is prepared and served by the students.  

Mr. "Quack" authored this piece about his work as a SOWMA tutor.

by Kevin Quackenbush
SOWMA tutor

His small size belied the enormous energy he brought into the room. He arrived to work on his homework and read a bit before selecting one of the many games and learning activities that peppered the shelves.

Ja’Mai’s mom made that game plan clear to him upon arrival.  Still, his nature was to immediately investigate everything and everyone in the room and engage with them. Homework was low on his personal agenda.  

At our first meeting my goal was simply to establish a rapport with Ja’Mai. In that effort I had a leg up as my name tag read, ‘Ask Quack.’  We enjoyed a few minutes of the usual reaction over the name … initial disbelief, eventual acceptance and then introducing me to kids near and far as he bellowed “Quack.”  Instantly I became known as "Mr. Quack." Each week thereafter my arrival to the Conway House was heralded with a chorus of “Mr. Quack” from the kids.

Mia Adams is a high school student and member of a School on Wheels Club at her school. She spends her evenings tutoring children.  Mia is being mentored by SOWMA board member and tutor Carol Augustyniak Marcus.  Mia wrote this piece for "The Daily Olivian," the official newspaper of Oliver Ames High School.  

This matters to me. And I hope it will matter to other students too. Last year I started tutoring homeless children for School on Wheels, and it truly changed my life. But there was one instance that affected me the most and left me with the most rewarding feeling I have ever experienced in my life. After my third or fourth week of tutoring one fifth-grade girl, I thought she would like some additional school supplies. Before the next session, I put together pencil cases full of all new school supplies for her and her two younger siblings. Filling the pencil cases for the children was just an instinct for me, and I didn’t think that deeply into it.

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United Way of Greater Plymouth County

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


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