Champion in Action

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.”

Launched in 2002, Champions in Action is a joint initiative of Citizens Bank and NECN to recognize and support nonprofit organizations for their contributions to Boston communities. SOWMA was chosen from a pool of over 150 candidates and will receive a $35,000 unrestricted grant, media coverage, and extensive promotional and volunteer support for its outstanding work.

“As a Champion in Action, we look forward to helping more children in our state impacted by homelessness achieve a quality education and reach their full potential” said Cheryl Opper, founder and executive director of School on Wheels of Massachusetts. “This award from Citizens Bank, will help us strengthen our academic support services, spread awareness about family homelessness in our state and provide opportunities for volunteers to make a difference in their community.  Our ultimate goal is for our students to become self-sufficient adults and break the cycle of homelessness through their education."

With this award, SOWMA will continue to improve the educational outcomes for children who struggle in school due to frequent absences, multiple moves, and the trauma of homelessness. A portion of the $35,000 award will fund a stipend for a graduate-level intern in non-profit management to improve our capacity while mentoring the next generation of non-profit leaders.  The remaining funds will be directed to strengthening our development and marketing resources.

We are particularly excited about the involvement of Citizens Bank and NECN employees who will be volunteering for SOWMA.  The heartbeat of School on Wheels of Massachusetts is the community volunteers who work with our students every week by going into our shelters, schools and motel sites to provide one-on-one tutoring and mentoring. These community volunteers serve as positive adult role models for children impacted by homelessness.

At School on Wheels we have many enriching opportunities for volunteers to make a difference in the lives of homeless children in their community. In addition to tutoring children one hour a week, volunteers can choose to run a school supply drive at their work, place of worship, local library, or child’s school. SOWMA welcomes creative thinkers with their own ideas for fundraising for our kids.

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


Federal Tax ID 20-1020880