Dear Cheryl,

I just saw a little boy getting dropped off at my children's school by a taxi cab. It brought tears to my eyes. Many other kids were being dropped off by school buses or by parents in mini vans. I hope that little boy doesn't feel any different from his peers as he goes through his school day.  If he does not feel any different now, how about when he is in middle school or high school? How do those children who are helped by SOWMA feel sitting side by side with other children in the classroom. How lucky my children are, how lucky I am, that my kids don’t know that feeling. I just wanted to call my husband to say how thankful I am and how silly our worries seem. With that comes a responsibility to help others.

John Hoagland, a former School on Wheels of Massachusetts (SOWMA) Board member, started tutoring with SOWMA in 2009.  Sem, has been working with John for the past year and a half. 

Reflecting back to April 2004, when I first started School on Wheels of Massachusetts out of my home in Easton, I could never have imagined that we would: 

• open 22 tutoring sites 
• train 1,444 community volunteer tutors 
• supply 5,657 backpacks filled with school supplies and books 
• provide customized academic services for 1,706 children grades K-12 
• and 33 students would enroll in college.

"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.

Page 21 of 31

Stay Informed

Join our mailing list to be notified of all our latest news and events.

Connect with Us

We're on social networks. Follow us and stay in touch.

Contact us

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


Federal Tax ID 20-1020880