Giving With Purpose

We were honored to have Professor Silver and his amazing students from his Sociology 202: Charitable Giving class at Framingham State University visit our operations center.  It is always a thrill to be in the presence of young adults who are involved in making a real difference in our society. 

Professor Silver’s class is involved in the ”Giving With Purpose” program sponsored by the Learning by Giving Foundation. This program is a free massive open online course (MOOC) on philanthropy, which allows students of all ages to become grantmakers.  

In his article, “Students Tackling the Defining Challenge of Our Time”, Professor Silver tells us, “For the students in my Nonprofit Giving course at Framingham State University, the growing opportunity divide in American society isn’t just a subject to talk about in class. It’s a problem they’re equipped to go out into the world and mitigate. With generous support from the Learning by Giving Foundation, the class has $10,000 to give away to Boston-area nonprofits that are measurably increasing access to economic opportunity. This money will address what President Obama has called “the defining challenge of our time.” School on Wheels of Massachusetts is being considered, along with 3 other local non-profit organizations, to receive this grant.

The students and their professor, in narrowing down their choices, were probably shocked by this paragraph in our grant application - the statistics are quite disheartening:

It is hard to believe, the average age of a homeless person in Massachusetts is 8 years old!  A point in time study done by the Department of Education estimates there are over 44,000 children enrolled in Massachusetts Public School who experience homelessness each year.  Children who have lost their homes face educational deficits and emotional uncertainty. They are 8X more likely to repeat a grade, have 4X more developmental delays than their peers. Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless reports that there are over 4,000 families in the Massachusetts Emergency Assistance shelter program. Over 2,000 of these families are calling a single motel room their home. School on Wheels fills in the layers of learning missing because of frequent moves, school absences and the effects of trauma homeless children experience.  

The class learned that with shelters in Brockton at full capacity, 155 families are living in area hotels.  The number of homeless students in Brockton has increased by 21% in just a year’s time from 271 to 329 students.  Initially motels were designed to be a short term stay for homeless families, but with numbers rising, families are calling a motel room their home for 6 months to a year, sometimes even longer. With multiple school absences, developmental delays, and health problems, these children are at extreme risk for falling further behind in school, ultimately dropping out of school and repeating the cycle of homelessness as an adult.  

The goal of School on Wheels is to provide high quality educational resources and one-on-one mentoring to help homeless students stay in school, graduate and go onto college or a vocational training program.  This is the kind of real and lasting change we want to bring to our community.

Professor Silver’s latest book is  Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream.

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


Federal Tax ID 20-1020880