School on Wheels

Photo Credit to Mart Production on Pexels

Sometimes I’m amazed to learn about uplifting programs that have been going on for a long time. School on Wheels is one such organization. Based in Southern California, this grassroots program was started in 1993 by Agnes Johnson. She understood the challenges of educating children when they’re homeless.

Founder of School on Wheels, Agnes Johnson. (Photo Credit to Pinterest)

The idea behind Schools on Wheels was to provide resources and support to homeless children from grades K-12 so they wouldn’t fall further behind in their education. The data on homelessness reported on the School of Wheels website shows the devastation homelessness can take.

  • Homeless children are nine times more likely to repeat a grade.
  • Homeless kids are four more times likely to drop out of school entirely.
  • Homeless youth are three times more likely to be put into special education programs.
  • 500,000 California children are homeless.
  • 1 out of 20 children living in California does not have a home.
  • The number of K-12 students experiencing homelessness in California has risen more than 20% in the past four years.

The heart of the School on Wheels program is its volunteer tutors. The organization tries to train and match volunteers with students. Tutors can help in their areas of academic interest at their preferred age level. The goal is for students to receive one hour of tutoring per week, in addition to a student’s regular studies in school. Skeptics may think that is of little value, but as a retired educator, I know the importance of children knowing they have regular support from someone who cares about and is willing to mentor them.

School on Wheels offers many areas of support for families experiencing homelessness.

  • One-on-one online tutoring
  • School supplies
  • Assistance in entering school
  • Scholarships
  • Parental support

If you watch only one video today while reading my post, I encourage you to spend the next nine minutes and see how this program has impacted the lives of adults and their tutors. One can’t walk away without feeling happy for Chynna (tutee) and Katie (tutor). The first half of the video is Executive Director of School on Wheels Charles Evans and musician and TV host Kelly Clarkson discussing the program. The second half of this inspirational video shows us Katie and Chynna’s inspirational teamwork.

I’m often baffled by society’s lack of compassion toward the homeless population. I often hear people say things like, “Why don’t they just go out and get a job?” or “I never give them (the homeless) money. They’re just going to use it for alcohol or drugs.” Lumping the homeless into a selfish group looking to take advantage of government programs is uneducated and misinformed. Most people living in homeless situations do not want to be there. They’re looking for ways out so that they can provide a better life for their families. One of the first parts of becoming educated about homelessness is understanding that the homeless are not all living on the streets. Many live in shelters, motels, vehicles, and group foster homes

I taught children from the most difficult of circumstances. How can we expect kids to do well in school when their most basic needs like housing, food, and clothing go unmet? One of the things that used to make me go crazy as an educator was the overemphasis schools placed on state testing each year. We can’t expect kids that don’t know where they’ll be spending the night or where their next meal is coming from to give a damn about testing.

While the number of homeless in California and around the world is staggering, School on Wheels is making a difference. Homeless children living in southern California in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernadino, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties are getting help. Over 28 years, more than 50,000 students have received services. That may seem like nothing when observing the magnitude of the problem. In reality, some lives are saved or changed for the better because of programs like School on Wheels.

I became aware of this excellent program when my friend, Bruce Shaffer, became a volunteer and educated me about it. Bruce and I have known each other since high school. My mom, Virginia, and Bruce’s mom, Judy, became friends when we moved to California. Bruce’s dad, Jack, was one of my favorite professors in college. Not only was Jack a great educator and wonderful human being, but he also taught me a valuable lesson that always stayed with me. 

Sometimes people could get into debates in Jack’s sociology class. Students with diverse political perspectives engaged in sometimes heated discussions. Jack created an environment where everyone was able to express their opinions. When the once-a-week evening class ended, he invited his students to Toby and Jack’s, a local bar in town. It showed me that people could have different views but respect others and break bread together over a drink. That lesson seems even more critical today in an environment where people are no longer civil to others with opposing points of view. Bruce has always been interested in math and has tutored it for years with students from grade school to college. At present, he is working with a ten-year-old student in 5th grade. When the pandemic hit, the group suddenly shifted directions and moved from an in-site program to giving children online opportunities. Bruce doesn’t live in one of the six southern California counties where School on Wheels exists, but since tutors must only live in California, this allowed him to become part of the team. I was delighted to learn of the scholarship opportunities the group offers. Besides college scholarships, there are smaller scholarships, so they pay for things like music lessons, science kits, extracurricular clubs, soccer balls and cleats, college test prep, and much more

Bruce and Pete (Friends, Poker Buddies, Writers, Community Service Advocates)

I am pleased to bring attention to School on Wheels. I hope others reading my post may consider volunteering in this or similar programs. I know from my volunteer experiences that others are likely to join when they see how easy it is. Not only might you inspire someone else to act, but you will likely feel good about yourself while getting so much back. I encourage you to visit their website to learn more. https://schoolonwheels.org/

114 thoughts on “School on Wheels

  1. This is such important work! I have a hard time getting past the fact that there are 500,000 homeless children in California.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 4:16 pm

      Mindblowing statistic! Homelessness seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is utterly wonderful and life-changing

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 6:55 pm

      Thought you might like it. I especially like the story of the young woman (Chynna) who has taken this support from the program and run with it. She is the kind of person those in a similar situation need to hear from.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The statistics you cite are staggering. I had no idea so many children are homeless, although I shouldn’t be surprised. Affordable housing for low income families is in very short supply. A safe and decent place to live should be a basic human right, in addition to healthy food and access to medical care. I just finished watching the first video–so inspirational! Just think what our society could become, if we all worked together for the greater good.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 6:57 pm

      It is scary how fast the numbers of homeless are growing exponentially. Mental health is a massive component of homelessness on top of everything else. What do we expect to happen if we don’t offer support to homeless children?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. HI Pete, given the worldwide consequences of the pandemic and now this war in the Ukraine, an increase in dire poverty was inevitable. I am thankful to see some steps being taken to help these children. I wonder how many more homeless children will be the inevitable result of the banning of abortion. I hate abortion, but I believe it is a necessary evil in an overpopulated world in economic tumult.

        Like

  4. That sounds worthy. How have your experiences been with them? It sounds like a perfect match for you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 7:02 pm

      I haven’t worked with this particular organization, but you are right about it being in my wheelhouse. It used to be all in-person, and I imagine it will head back in that direction. I’m guessing there are people for whom the online model works better who cannot get to any of the in-house tutoring locations.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I love teaching online so that part appeals to me. It takes me a lot longer to get my own stuff done these days–I worry about such an important commitment.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. You’re exactly right, it’s hard to focus on a test or study for one if you don’t have your basic necessities… My sisters and I never went hungry, but we often had to be creative with where we could study and often didn’t have anyone to help us understand the material… It’s nice to know there are programs (and other adults out there) looking out for the children who need the additional support…

    As for the stereotypical pigeonholing of the homeless population, I think it makes people feel better about turning a blind eye… assuming the worst about someone based on where they’ve “ended up”… but that’s often not the case at all.. often times it only takes one bad luck to start a snowball of unfortunate circumstances… such as losing your job or a parent… we will never be able to live in anyone else’s shoes but compassion and empathy is crucial for us all to move forward positively…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 7:07 pm

      I believe a considerable portion of the population lives paycheck to paycheck. Millions of people could become homeless given a set of unfortunate circumstances. I can’t help but think about my situation as a young adult living on my own for the first time. I wasn’t making it financially and had to move home, but I had that luxury that not everyone else does.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Wow! What awesome work they are doing, a wonderful idea! Breaks my heart that so many kids are homeless. America needs to do better!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 7:09 pm

      Imagine if everyone could give one hour of their time once a week. Children need resources, but they also need hope.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that would go so far if everyone could do that! Hope is soo important!

        Liked by 2 people

  7. This post, Pete, is one of the reasons I’m so glad I found your blog. I believe that homelessness is not a choice. As a former social worker who also operated a food pantry in Colorado, I interacted with the homeless population pretty frequently. There are so many systemic changes that need to happen in this country to address this issue in a meaningful way. I just learned today that my youngest, who is 28 and living in downtown Denver accepted a new job at a homeless shelter. I am so very proud of them. I appreciate learning something new every time I read your blog posts. That, to me, is a testament to what a great educator you are.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 7:19 pm

      I’m struck by the callousness of many toward the homeless. What if this was their child and needed some kind of safety net? It’s easy to look the other way and come up with excuses not to get involved. I agree entirely about the need for systemic changes.

      You should be incredibly proud of your youngest. What more extraordinary act of kindness is there than helping someone in need? Thanks for your kind comments, Rhonda.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks for this post, Pete. Certainly good work by all the volunteers. I was stunned by the number of homeless children in California. You would think there could be something done about this. Sounds like a state and local government “look the other way” issue.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 7:52 pm

      Yes, those homeless numbers made my jaw drop. It is something to walk around our county and see homeless people everywhere. Some of that has to do with the mild climate that we live in. People say we should help the homeless, yet most don’t want a homeless shelter nearby. I won’t pretend to have all the answers, but we must do better.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We have a progressive (read far left) city council and mayor. For years they allowed the homeless to camp anywhere and refused to enforce any of the laws regarding public health and safety. Finally the public was fed up and got a petition together that got an initiative on the ballot to get the mess cleaned up. The council still dragged its feet until a lawsuit got them moving. Now money is being spent for permanent housing, relocation, and mental health. Once the people get involved in a situation real progress is made.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you for bringing School on Wheels to my attention, Pete! Such a wonderful, enriching, and helpful program and the perfect cause as a volunteer. Those statistics are indeed crazy. One out of twenty children in California doesn’t have a home? That’s insane.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 7:54 pm

      You’re probably like me and never saw homelessness growing up. I remember driving through the deep South with my family through rural Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia and was shocked to see people living in poverty. It was an eye-opener for this sheltered little kid.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I first saw homelessness on my travels, mostly in the less developed nations. I’m Belgium I’ve rarely encountered it. And, here in the US we have seen it in every state.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. This is an excellent program and deserves support from the community. I served on the board of a non-profit that ran a facility that provided rehabilitation services for homeless addicts and housing for the addicts and their families. The educational needs of the kids is something we should have thought about more. Much appreciation to you Pete for highlighting this program.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 29, 2022 — 9:48 pm

      If we’re serious about trying to fight drug addiction, programs that help provide counseling and support for those fighting this terrible disease are necessary. Good for you in getting involved with programs such as this, John.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Sometimes, when we’re able, we need to help those who aren’t get on their own feet. What a great cause, and one that could very well break (or at least curb) the endless cycle that these children might go down. Great work highlighting School On Wheels, Pete!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 6:30 pm

      I like the idea of recruiting ordinary people to tutor. It isn’t about having a degree; it’s about an enduring positive influence in a child’s life. On the other hand, what would even make this take off more would be to have some celebrities on board.

      Like

  12. Thanks Pete for letting your followers know about the worthwhile School On Wheels organization. I’m going to forward your post to my coordinator at School On Wheels so she can pass it along to others. Maybe a few kids at School On Wheels will get new tutors because of your post, and that’s what it’s all about. I’m happy to report that the student I tutor has moved into an apartment with his mom. The downside is School On Wheels will support them for only four more months because they are no longer homeless. After the four months we are planning on still connecting online for an hour each week, outside of School On Wheels. So the extra educational help really can go on indefinitely.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 6:38 pm

      I saw a positive email from your coordinator. I’m happy to draw attention to programs like this that are doing important work.

      At least the kids aren’t immediately dropped from the program. It’s fantastic that you plan to stay in touch with your tutee. We get invested in their lives, and I’ll bet you are an important role model for him. Debbie and I are going to the wedding of one of my former 3rd graders in September. It makes me feel pretty great that she thought to include me.

      Like

  13. As usual, Pete, you cover this topic with compassion and real insight. I hope your words will motivate others to consider volunteering or supporting this cause in whatever way they can. We most fully own the suffering of others, as it exists because we choose to do nothing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 6:43 pm

      Well put about owning the suffering of others. What do we expect the outcome if we don’t support those in need? I’m a big fan of programs that look at the big picture and help people help themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I have given many homeless people money. I think the homeless definitely need to be a priority in every country of the world. Kids on the steets with no place to call home need all of us to step up to help them. There are many heros out there who should be recognized for helping others.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 6:49 pm

      Money is part of the issue, of course, but job training, low-cost housing, and mental health support are also areas that would make an enormous difference. I think it’s essential to create an atmosphere that reinforces the idea that volunteering is a humane solution.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Initiatives like this are wonderful, Pete, but I find it so sad that supposedly civilised countries have situations like this where they are needed. It is the same here, where there are many voluntary organisations attempting to fill in the gaps that have been left by inadequate government funding and a lack of empathy on the part of those in positions of power to do something about it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 6:52 pm

      You make an excellent point, Clive. How can we claim to be an “advanced society” when millions of people in our countries are starving, have nowhere to live, and can’t afford medical treatment?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We can’t, can we? At least the unaffordability of medical care isn’t an issue here!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. When we live so comfortably with our homes and our computers, it truly is staggering to realize how many children don’t. Especially in such a wealthy country. It makes me wonder what the Canadian statistics are. What an inspiring program.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 7:20 pm

      I don’t begrudge anyone who earns a lot of money in their chosen profession, but I’d also like to see the wealthy find ways to give back to their communities.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. School on Wheels – what a great idea! Hopefully it will help many children to gain an education that otherwise they might have missed out on.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 7:22 pm

      An hour a week isn’t much, but it seems the real benefit could be in terms of having a regular support person in each child’s life to offer guidance.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. What a wonderful program. I applaud everyone who volunteers and makes this happen. I too worked with homeless teenagers in a government-funded Youth at Risk Employment program. I was pleased to be able to help these young people get back on their feet, either by getting a meaningful job or going back to school. I was so happy I lived in a country that had resources for programs like this. Too many people just look the other way.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 7:31 pm

      You are a born educator. Any program that helps people get good work or an education is something I’m interested in. Where did you do this? Spain?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did this in Canada. It was such a great program. Every year I had to send a proposal into the government for funding. I did it for 7 years. When I retired I moved to Spain and spend my time writing and walking my dogs. Oh, and spending time with hubby of course.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. What an incredible program. And I just love the big smile on Agnes Johnson’s face. She obviously has a huge heart and cares deeply for children. It’s great to know there are people like her working to make this crazy world a better place. Thank you for sharing, Pete!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 7:34 pm

      It all starts with an idea. I think there’s a whole new cast of leaders now, but it took someone with vision to get this started. One part that I didn’t bring out in my article is that until Covid, there was an in-person learning center on Skid Row.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Pete – a wonderful, life-affirming, even exhilarating post on the transformation that comes when people care that knowledge and education belong to us all. Thank you for introducing me to School on Wheels. A great post and vibrant and compassionate follow-up discussion.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 7:40 pm

      With all of the negative stuff in the world, it’s good to get a reminder that most people are kind and decent. The most uplifting thing for me was to observe someone homeless who has lifted herself out and is making her mark in the world.

      I sure enjoyed your recent podcast with your mom and sister, Rebecca.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And we were thrilled that you joined us for tea, Pete! Your support for life-affirming conversations is a wonderful encouragement! Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. 500,000 those figures are staggering and that’s just the children…to know that there are such wonderful, caring people willing to give their time is heartening…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 7:42 pm

      Think of all of those kids who would do fine if given any kind of opportunity. I taught a lot of kids who righted the ship as soon as they had some stability in their lives.

      Like

      1. I know, Pete its a travesty so much is just wrong in this world and this is one of them…

        Liked by 1 person

  22. The magnitude of the problem can be depressing but stories like the ones you highlight are so inspiring. I used to distance myself from interaction with the homeless until I served 13 years on the Board of an organization serving the addicted in downtown Seattle. I continue to support institutions working on these issues but I totally changed my philosophy on donating directly to people on the streets. I don’t care what their story is. I no longer rationalize why I should ignore them. They are worse off than me and I want my grandchildren to see how we should treat people who are struggling even if it is one kind word and a drop in the gigantic bucket.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor June 30, 2022 — 7:48 pm

      I appreciate your thoughtful response, Geoff. Part of this whole thing for me is society developing a mindset to realize that addicts are people with a disease—not criminals. It doesn’t mean we should ignore their crimes, but by giving them opportunities to become productive members of society, we’re helping them and our communities.

      Teaching children to be compassionate is a noble cause.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Pete: this is a subject near and dear to my (he)art…there are so many facets of this slice of living and you are doing a huge service by showcasing this in your posting. Educating the public on what it means to be invisible & displaced helps to take away the burden of ‘judgement’ most feel within the homeless community. Showing tangible ways others have taken to help is a relief to those such as myself who have eyes wide open for opportunities to make a difference.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor July 1, 2022 — 8:02 am

      We have failed as a society when we don’t look after our most vulnerable (children, the elderly, and those with mental health problems). Besides not getting their physical needs met, being homeless also has to take a mental toll. How can they not see the looks of judgment from passersby?

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Wonderful initiative Pete, sometimes all it needs is someone showing interest to someone who feels forgotten or marginalised to make a huge difference to their day, and sometimes their lives.

    This is a good reminder how many genuinely good people there are doing constructive, positive things who rarely get noticed in a world that is so distracted by the negative.

    Thanks for bringing it to peoples attention.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor July 1, 2022 — 11:36 am

      School on Wheels was new to me until my friend told me about it. Kelly Clarkson is great about helping publicize people/groups doing important educational work.

      You’re so right about the number of people who do things like this anonymously.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Those statistics are staggering, Pete. And that’s just California. How sad that our country doesn’t seem motivated to address homelessness, especially since it’s impacting children in such huge numbers. I know that my grandson lost a whole year+ of his education as a result of the pandemic, and he had a home. I can’t imagine that children can absorb anything when living day to day in such stressful situations. Thanks for sharing the powerful video of Chynna and Katie. How heartwarming and hopeful. School on Wheels sounds like a wonderful program. I wish it wasn’t so needed. Thanks for sharing, my friend.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor July 1, 2022 — 2:56 pm

      It’s been a wild ride in education over the last few years between in-person and online learning. I saw a crazy statistic recently that close to 50 % of teachers are considering leaving the profession. We were already in a nationwide teacher shortage pre-Covid. The answer is not lowering the standards to become an educator, as I fear may happen. We’re really on a slippery slope with all this right now.

      Liked by 2 people

  26. The homeless situation is bad in CA, it’s even worse in Portland, OR alone. The government is taking a humane approach and letting the homeless people camp out everywhere along the freeway. The homeless issue is complicated but I agree with serving the children.
    School on Wheel is a wonderful idea, Pete! They should get an education and break the cycle of poverty one day. I understand that many students at CSU, Fullerton are homeless. They eat and sleep in their car and go to school during the day. One person in my writing group always has some food, water, and a blanket or two to give to the homeless.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor July 1, 2022 — 7:36 pm

      It is a complicated issue. I think it’s a problem that needs to be addressed strategically. It’s more than providing money; it’s giving hope and the opportunity for a better life.

      We have family in Portland, so I’ve seen what you’re referring to. What I find most alarming is how the situation continues to grow everywhere at an alarming rate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think Portland tried to build some kind of box homes for the homeless, big enough to just have a bed in it. I don’t know what happened after the initial idea. They need shelter, food, workers to connect them to social services, counselors, job training… I think governments don’t want to invest in them.
        It’ll get worse triggered by the pandemic. Many high school kids may not keep up and they’ll fall by the wayside.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. The numbers you quote are staggering. It’s good to know about this resource. It would be nice if it could be replicated widely. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 2, 2022 — 6:02 pm

      How are kids supposed to succeed if they can’t get an education? I’m glad that programs such as this exist, even if they only help a small percentage of the homeless.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. My goodness, what a wonderful program! I really enjoyed the videos, especially Kelly Clarkson’s interview with Charles Evans. Clearly the impact of tutoring an hour a week is tremendous for children. Wow! Thank you for this informative and uplifting post, Pete. I hope everyone reading this who is from California becomes a School on Wheels volunteer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 3, 2022 — 8:30 am

      Yes, I was impressed by Charles and his kind heart. It’s always interesting to hear the backstory and what motivates a person to take on such an undertaking. It reinforces the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, ordinary people can do extraordinary things! Thank goodness for Charles and people like him.

        Liked by 1 person

  29. The stats you shared on homeless children is devastating, Pete. We, as a society, need to address this issue or we’ll have children raising children on the streets- it’s wrong.
    I’m so glad people stepped up to the plate to give these kids some sort of education.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 3, 2022 — 4:31 pm

      It’s one of the most significant problems throughout our country. You and I never saw anything like this growing up. Homelessness leads to a variety of other associated problems, and it’s something we need to address before the issues get insurmountable.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. That is an incredible statistic Pete and I find it hard to get passed the number considering the USA has to be one of the richest nations in the world. And in the papers every day with billionaires such as Musk and others spending money on new technology or space travel in competition with similar global wealthy organisations, you have to wonder what our priorities are in this day and age. This program sounds amazing and they are clearly making a huge difference, but it should not be needed. The same with health care, both are human rights that should be met. The USA is not the only Western World country with the problem and the numbers are only going to increase without radical changes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor July 4, 2022 — 9:04 am

      America continues to be an enigma of sorts between its wealth and poverty. Drugs are an enormous problem tied into many of our issues. School on Wheels is an opportunity for the average citizen to make a small contribution.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. An amazing initiative Pete and wonderful for the children.

        Liked by 1 person

  31. What a selfless and amazing project – School on Wheels. I clicked on the link and was gobsmacked at reading 1 in 20 children are homeless. Absolutely staggering. Not to mention, women are being stripped of their bodily rights in the US now, which will UNDOUBTEDLY be creating many more hungry, and poverty stricken children. 😦 Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers, but sadly, not nearly enough to fill this ever-growing problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor July 5, 2022 — 5:50 pm

      It’s a drop in the bucket, but at least it’s something. I believe that small actions can lead to more significant results as more people get on board. Imagine if everyone in the world devoted at least one selfless hour to whatever cause was important to them.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. This was an amazing article Pete – what a worthwhile project and what a difference it must make. The statistics are staggering. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 5, 2022 — 5:53 pm

      Indeed, a worthwhile project. Things like this have a way of taking off when celebrities and other famous people get involved. It’s also encouraging when ordinary citizens look at society’s greater good to make a commitment.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Your heart is in the right place, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 5, 2022 — 5:54 pm

      Many hearts in the right place can make a difference in some children’s lives. Parents, who may be doing their best in an impossible situation, can use our support too.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Sue Wickstead July 6, 2022 — 9:05 am

    Oh wow 😮
    In 1980 our Playbus here in England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 was started with funds from the Queens silver jubilee.
    The bus was used to help disadvantaged children.
    In 1983 I became involved in the project and it stole my heart ❣.
    I loved the flexibility as well as the bright eye catching colourful livery which drew attention.
    I became involved in the National Playbus Association, which championed the many different mobile projects and from here I learnt how many different uses and how much support the many ( mainly double decker) buses, could give and offer.
    The National charity changed its name to ‘Working on Wheels ‘ which better reflected the many different variations of mobile provision.

    I really enjoyed my involvement but sadly due to lack of funding our project finally closed.
    However, it lives on in both the photographic history book as well as my children’s story books.

    I love the whole idea of mobile provision.
    Keep going (sadly we couldn’t- which is a real shame as so many people now see what we did and could offer)

    My books and stories
    http://Www.suewickstead.co.uk

    P.S. I did write a story book about a homeless bus project but perhaps it is not quite for the little children?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor July 6, 2022 — 11:15 am

      Hi Sue. I’ve seen you on some of the same blogs I follow. It’s unfortunate that the bus program you were involved with folded. As with many of these great projects, ongoing funding becomes an issue. I would be interested in your story about the homeless bus project if you could send me the link. I love the idea of using something that already exists in different and creative ways.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Pete ,
        Yes I have also seen some of your posts but never connected you with mobile projects.
        I did know you were a teacher.
        I visited a mobile project in Ipswich (uk).
        Here is my blog.

        https://suewickstead.co.uk/mobile-pojects/tiffler-the-bus-shelter

        I also visited another local charity and was interested ( pre pandemic)to visit other mobiles around the country. But lockdown stopped that.
        My homeless story is still in draft and I do hope one day to get it edited and in print.
        But being self- published it is not completed.

        Bewbush Playbus and it’s memories
        Is my Facebook page where I post about mobiles etc…
        I wrote my Bewbush Playbus book and as part of working on Wheels ( National Playbus association) was given all of their photos in the hope of writing a book for them.
        But it wasn’t funded and I never did any more. WOW ceased to operate.

        I’d love a photo of your bus.
        I’m still keen to hear about other mobiles.

        As to my story? Maybe I should look again?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How strange, today’s smorgasbord also included an article on my bus from another post.
        https://whitewingsbooks.com/2019/10/15/tuesday-guest-feature-sue-wickstead-2/?c=9236#comment-9236

        My Bus constantly comes along to beep me forward

        Liked by 1 person

  35. Horrific statistics from one of the wealthier states of the US. As you say, being homeless doesn’t mean sleeping on the streets, it often simply means not being able to afford a place to live and having to depend on staying with different friends, being placed in cheap hotels or living anywhere you can find at the time. Most of these situations mean that the children are frequently moved on from one place to another which has a massive impact on schooling and the support normally provided by stable friendships. This scheme must make a huge difference to the children it reaches and, like Chynna, those who want to do well but have been handicapped by moving from one place to another. I’m not surprised by this post from you, Pete, because I know what a kind heart you have. As for Agnes – that woman has a face with the lines all in the right place. You can see her compassion and humour! ♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 6, 2022 — 1:39 pm

      Love the description of Agnes—”a face with all the lines in the right place.” I’ve never heard that phrase before, but I can think of a couple special people in my life who also have those lines. They are faces that say, “I’m a kind person who looks out for my fellow man.”

      I taught plenty of kids whose grades improved when their life became more stable. Can you imagine starting a day wondering where you might sleep that night?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The expression came to me as I looked at that wonderful image of her. I don’t understand why so many people want to remove the laughter lines around their eyes – I see them as such a positive and attractive feature.

        Like

  36. Pete this is I think my new favorite post of yours. I have an amazing friend who grew up homeless and told me about her struggle with education and trying to stay in school. Her story touched me so deeply that later I had to have a good cry over it. I had no clue that a program like “school on wheels” was made for kids who struggled like she did. This entire post reminded me of her and the things she divulged to me. Thanks for sharing!! I can’t watch the video right now because I’m in a public place but I’ll definitely get back to it as soon as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 6, 2022 — 1:48 pm

      Thanks for reading, LaShelle. The video is worth the time, highlighting this special friendship between tutor and tutee. The most inspiring thing is watching someone turn their life around and become a leader herself.

      I switched schools a few times in my childhood. That can be hard enough even when a kid has a good support system. I remember one time when a parent, who was on the run hiding from someone she didn’t want in her child’s life, picked up her child in the middle of class and said he (Adam) wouldn’t be back. It had to be hard on him as he had made friends and was just starting to come into his own. It was also hard on the class and me because we didn’t get to have any closure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow Pete that is incredibly heartbreaking. Thanks so much for sharing that moment with me. I’ll definitely come back to this as soon as I can. As you know, at home I have next to no internet and in town I’m usually multitasking by picking up feed and using the internet at the same time, I’m going to make a point to hit up the library this week though!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor July 6, 2022 — 8:17 pm

        The life of a country girl. The flip side is you get to experience lots of things many of us will never know.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So true!! My WiFi is seriously lacking today. Storms have rolled in and I get two bars and then suddenly not even enough signal to make a phone call 🤣. Nikolai is staying with my mom for four weeks and it took me two hours to get through to say good night to him. 😬

        Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 7, 2022 — 6:32 am

      Thanks for all your regular support, Michael.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always with a great pleasure, Pete! Thank you too so much for all the very inspiring information. xx Michael

        Like

  37. A great invention, and so helpful from the first minute on. Thanks for information, Pete! I fully agree with your saying about the state’s tests. This is very helpful to oversee the development of the community, but needless if their are deficiencies in the basic needs of students. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 7, 2022 — 6:36 am

      Being in a stable situation makes anyone happier. Movies that glorify an out-of-control classroom are not what children want. They want order, not chaos. They also want to feel like their teacher cares about them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is so true, Pete! xx Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  38. This is an amazing initiative! Really impressive.
    In India, I’ve always been against giving money to beggars mainly because there are begging rackets being run by men who eventually end up taking most of the money from the beggars. I instead prefer to give them food and drink (during this hot summer) which they can personally consume.
    I’ve always wanted to do something more (than just donate money) for those less fortunate especially kids and old people. I hope I can in the next few years. *Fingers crossed*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor July 11, 2022 — 6:53 am

      I like this program because it allows people to give their time rather than simply writing a check, wondering how much of it will be utilized for its intended purposes. Homelessness has become rampant in the United States in the last decade.

      I tend to be generally skeptical because there are so many scams. I once had an experience where I had to turn off at an exit and go under an overpass to turn around because I’d missed my turnoff. I saw a man wearing an eyepatch claiming to be a military vet. After turning around, there was another guy with the exact outfit in the opposite direction. School on Wheels is an established program with a proven track record.

      Like

  39. Hi Pete, You’re a man with a good heart…I only wish I had more money to spread around (small UK pension!) but there are other ways to help, and money itself tempts too many greedy, ruthless types…I’m full of admiration for all those who go out of their way to help the less fortunate. I couldn’t agree with you more. Onwards and upwards. .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 11, 2022 — 6:59 am

      The tutoring aspect of School on Wheels appeals to the teacher in me. It’s no great surprise that kids respond well when they know someone cares enough to spend time with them. I can’t help but think of role models in my life who have influenced me. Thanks for checking in, Joy.

      Like

    2. Me again…Just to say how I admire most teachers. In my 60s I worked for ten years as a reader ‘buddy’ for a few of the slower children and also took a poetry class. Oddly, mostly boys (I have three sons of my own) gravitated toward me. Perhaps I find boys easier to handle?! A minor mystery. Perhaps they saw me as a Granny figure? Carry on with the good work. Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. petespringerauthor July 11, 2022 — 1:07 pm

        Having taught elementary school (grades 2-6) for 31 years, I’ve formed my share of opinions about teaching each gender. The girls were a dream to teach through 4th grade. (Nine times out of ten, the girls were more mature at that age.) 5th grade was probably my favorite grade to teach because the boys finally settled down, and most of the girls were still reasonable. By 6th grade, the worm turned, and the boys were far easier to teach. I grew tired of all of the girl drama in 6th grade and eventually moved down to teach younger kids.

        By the way, I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve been reading to seniors at assisted living for the last several months. It’s been so rewarding, and I enjoy their company. It’s a reminder that there is nothing like a good story at any age.

        Like

  40. What a wonderful program. Thanks for sharing the video. I’d only watched clips from the Kelly Clarkson show twice; this video,a nd when Jennie was on. Kelly seems like a genuinely kind person. Have you gotten involved as a tutor?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 21, 2022 — 8:34 pm

      Not yet, but it’s on my agenda. One of the things I’m most proud of and having a blast with in the last few months is reading to seniors at assisted living. https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/2022/04/22/the-gift-of-yourself-in-memory-of-shirley-banks/ Heck, I probably already told you about this when I was out your way. I like to tease my wife and tell her I’m accomplishing two things when I visit: 1. I’m bringing some happiness to others. 2. I’m checking out our accommodations for the future. 🤣

      What’s with the Springer guy? I check in, and he gives me homework to read. We might not see you around for another six months.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Such a wonderful activity for you to have gotten involved with. And as you note, it’s just as rewarding for you as the residents.

        Liked by 1 person

  41. What a beautiful uplifting story, Pete. Thank you for sharing it. It makes me both happy and sad – sad that people are in situations like this – happy that there are wonderful people to help. There is good in this world, more than the media often tries to make us think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 7:51 am

      One of the more remarkable things about this story is that this program has been going on in my own state for almost 30 years (granted, California is a vast place), and this was the first time I’d heard of it. Homelessness is one of America’s most significant problems, which is particularly sad when one considers we’re supposed to be a developed nation. Is this also becoming more common in Australia?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think one of the reasons we don’t hear about these stories, Pete, is because the media tend to focus on the bad and sensational, rather than the good heartwarming stories that would uplift us all and encourage us to be more involved. The gloom and doom tend to bring us down and feel hopeless and unable to do anything to make a difference. I don’t know why that’s the focus so often. (I’m using the out there ‘we’ and ‘us’, not you and me in particular – we look for the possibilities. Teachers always do. Why would we teach if we didn’t have hope for a better future?)
        Homelessness does seem to be increasing here. We’ve always had a good welfare system which has looked after most people – there are always a few who slip through the cracks for various reasons. But this year, after so much flooding and the destruction of homes, coupled with rising inflation, high rents and low vacancy rates, the problem of homelessness seems to be escalating. It’s very sad.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor July 31, 2022 — 8:24 am

        The majority of teachers are positive folks who teach for altruistic reasons. I’m excited about our future because of our youth. I see a lot of promise there. Unfortunately, we keep leaving them bigger problems to deal with. Have a good week, Norah.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think you’re right about those bigger problems, Pete. Hopefully we’ll all solve them before it’s too late. You have a good week too!

        Liked by 1 person

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