Jordan called a local shelter home for many years after living on the streets and "couch surfing." He was 16.  He dreamed of one day using his talents and passion to become self-sufficient, yet kept those dreams to himself. Jordan had suffered years of depression, anxiety and hopelessness. He said he found solace at the shelter for the homeless as it "took me away from my problems."

A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan was introduced to SOWMA's Bridge Program and his now Mentor Jim Whalen. His case manager first visited our office for academic materials and a writing journal to help Jordan collect his thoughts.

It was there he met Bridge Program Director Jonathan Vincent, who heard his story and soon introduced him to a business executive turned SOWMA Mentor, Jim Whalen. Jim's first words to the reticent young man were, "Right now may be your past and present, but it won't be your future."

An aspiring entrepreneur with a talent for cabinet making, Jordan was quick to show Jim hidden photos of the tables, bureaus and other furniture pieces that were stored on his phone and in his dreams.  He was first introduced to woodworking at a shop class while attending a vocational high school.  His eyes widened as he eagerly described the craftsmanship and details behind each piece he has since created and stored away. 

Jim was visibly impressed. The furniture and details were stunning. He set up informational interviews with agencies such as SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) and together they researched local schools that offered business courses. They began a portfolio and Jordan started full-time work at a local tool shop.

Today, the two are brainstorming company names, researching craft fairs, Etsy and other online commerce platforms. They are talking about websites, business cards and ROI, a term that sparked joy as Jordan contemplated the meaning. 

He is living in a safe, affordable apartment, playing the guitar and enrolling in online webinars.  When he begins to feel anxious, he picks up the phone and calls Jim.

"Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is that I want to see how this movie plays out," Jordan said as he looked mischievously at his new friend Jim.  

 

Hats off to our 2020 Senior Volunteers! 

By Jessica Zhang, Student at Noble and Greenough School

“I was incredibly lucky to be working with such inspiring kids!” 

           Walking up the steps of the family shelter for my first day of tutoring, I was filled with apprehension.  Butterflies fluttered in my stomach and around my head:  What if the kids don’t like me? What if I’m a terrible tutor? I don’t have younger siblings, nor do I babysit.  The idea of a roomful of children seemed daunting.  Despite my self-doubt, I opened the door.

June, 2020

Dear Friend of SOWMA,

There are many ways to help our most vulnerable students stay engaged with learning during these difficult times.  With school closures and physical distancing in effect, our students face unique challenges as they simultaneously face the disruption and uncertainty of homelessness.  We expect an increased demand for our services as more children and youth will need academic, social and emotional support in the months and year ahead.  Below are ways you can support our mission.  Whether through a financial donation, volunteer time or a supply drive, you can make a significant impact for a child in need.  Thank you for exploring ways to support our kids.  

To visit our office this summer and help prepare and customize backpacks, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

With warm regards, 

Kathleen Graham
Executive Director 


March 31, 2020

Dear Friend of SOWMA,

As part of our responsibility to reduce the spread of COVID-19, School on Wheels continues to adhere to strict safety measures to keep our students, volunteers and staff safe while ensuring students stay engaged and connected.

We are working with family shelter partners and state and local agencies to ensure our efforts to provide educational support and materials align with health and social distancing precautions. 

Below are program updates and ways you can help students continue to receive the guidance and tools they need throughout the coming weeks and months.  We will keep you informed as needs develop and events unfold.  In the interim, like all non-profit organizations, we are facing the need to maintain sustainability in order to continue serving our state's most vulnerable children and youth.  Any gift, no matter how small, will help immeasurably as we strive to meet emergency funding needed. 

Although our physical office is closed, we are working remotely and can be reached via the staff listing here.
Messages are also being retrieved at 508.587.9091. 

Thank you for your continued support during these difficult times.  We are grateful for those who have already pledged financial support for our ongoing efforts to provide academic, social and emotional support for students while keeping them safe and connected with learning. We invite you to continue to support our programs and will keep you apprised as our plans and activities unfold. 

With warm regards, 

Kathleen Graham
Executive Director 

MENTORING BRIDGE PROGRAM  
We have successfully transitioned 56 college students from campus life to a safe place to continue their studies. Most of these students are "unaccompanied minors," who do not have a permanent place of residence.  Mentors are communicating with students via email, FaceTime, Skype and Zoom. We are helping students with moving logistics and supplies such as bins and storage containers, and purchasing laptops and gift cards to alleviate financial burdens. If you would like to help by donating to our College Mentoring Relief Fund, please click here.
 
 
Currently our Tutoring Shelter Site Partners are assessing space accommodations and inventory needs. They report that children are engaged with SOWMA's lending library and current inventory of books, games and activities. Together we are in the process of developing, in conjunction with shelter management, an updated list of activity needs. We will keep you informed on these and other donations to help keep students engaged in the coming weeks. A special thank you to all of our volunteer tutors, like Dr. Heather Boxerman featured above, who gave students critical lessons on proper hygiene and hand-washing just prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. To help support our funding needs for upcoming workbooks and activity kits, click here.
 
We recently released a photo montage celebrating our 6,000th customized backpack delivered since the 2019/2020 school year began. You can see that here. We are deeply grateful for organizations such as Hope and Comfort, who have recently donated much-needed hygiene items to our backpacks as we develop delivery plans for the near future. We will be updating our AmazonSmile list within the coming days, and hope you will support our students while shopping online.
 
 
We are working with our partners and state and local officials to determine the fate of our annual Run, Walk or Wag, scheduled for May 2nd at Borderland State Park. We will keep you informed as decisions unfold. In the meantime, please give a salute to our sponsors, whose support makes this event, and our students' success, possible. Please see them here!



There are many ways to stay involved! CLICK HERE  

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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

508.587.9091

Federal Tax ID 20-1020880
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