The last night of our It’s a WRAP! summer program is tonight, and most of our students go back to school next week. This summer has flown by, and we can’t believe it’s almost over.

We strongly believe that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness. But sometimes education and the prospect of going back to school can be scary for the students we work with. They’re facing anxiety about new teachers, new friends and sometimes even a new school, just like every other kid. But persevering through their anxiety and becoming comfortable in a new classroom can transform the way that student feels about education.

To celebrate the start of this school year and the importance of education, we’ve found three stories that inspire us. Each of these articles features students experiencing homelessness who’ve overcome great odds with the help and encouragement of their communities. We hope that these stories will give you a boost and brighten your week as we head back into the school year!

1. Fred Barley

We love this story from WSB-TV about Fred Barley, a 19 year old college student who lives in Georgia. Police officers found Fred sleeping in a tent outside of his college after he rode his bike for 6 hours from another city to register for his second semester of school. Instead of giving him a ticket, they helped him find a place to stay, and the community took care of the rest. We can’t wait to see how this school year goes for Fred with the local community supporting him!

2. Amarfi Collado, Khalil Coy and Aesron Jeremiah

Experiencing homelessness as a teenager impacts every student differently in both their social and academic life. We love this article from the New York Daily News about three teenagers from New York, Amarfi, Khalil and Aesron, because it gives insights into the many different reasons why families experience homelessness, and how each of them reacted. The best part: at the end of the story, they all end up achieving academic success.

3. Dacavien Reeves

Sometimes, students facing overwhelming life experiences use those to motivate themselves to achieve even more. Dacavien Reeves, a recent high school graduate from Tennessee, is a great example of this. After his mother became sick, with the help of his teachers and mentors, he held down a job, raised his GPA from a 2.1 to a 4.3 AND started a group that helped his fellow classmates develop leadership skills. He’s headed off to college this fall, and we can’t wait to see what he’ll accomplish in the future!

Success stories like these, along with the achievements of School on Wheels kids, keep us inspired, and we hope they inspire you too!

Want to help make stories like these happen in Indianapolis? Apply to become a volunteer today!