Young brothers Jace and Kayden moved five different times with their mom Kira and baby sister Zoey last school year. They floated between apartments of family friends, lived in a rental without functional plumbing, and spent time in a motel room.
With each move came new obstacles. From dealing with the limitations of virtual learning and lack of internet access, to transportation issues and struggling to provide for their basic needs, Kira worked with School on Wheels staff member Amy to tackle each new hurdle. The education-based case management services Amy provided for their family helped Kira keep her sons connected and engaged in learning.
Despite the instability and absences caused by frequent moves the family of four experienced last year, they were optimistic as they began this school year. Jace, a quiet and dedicated student, was starting fourth grade and his outgoing older brother, Kayden, was eager to begin sixth grade. Amy helped Kira get the boys into a before-school program that would accommodate a new work schedule and also helped her navigate daycare options for Zoey.
With all of Kira’s children enrolled in safe and affordable daytime programs, she was able to take a job with better pay and benefits. This job provided more stability for her family, including access to an apartment of their own that they moved into this September.
Jace was just a month into this school year when one of his classmates tested positive for COVID. Jace and several classmates were sent home for two weeks of remote learning to keep the rest of the student body safe. With no childcare options for Jace, no options to work remotely, and no accrued time off, Kira lost her new job and benefits because she couldn’t leave her eight-year-old son at home alone.
The families we work with face obstacles like these every day as they attempt to overcome the challenges of homelessness and its negative impact on their children’s future stability and success. Barriers to securing an education are real and there are no simple solutions. That’s why we’re asking for your help. Our programs make a difference.
Despite Kira losing her better paying job, Kira and Amy’s hard work over the past year is still providing stability for Kira’s family. Jace and Kayden have transportation to and from school, and Zoey continues to be enrolled in daycare. Jace and Kayden’s school attendance is strong. Kira has been able to return to her previous job and her family is still in their new apartment. Amy gets to work with both brothers during the school day multiple times each week, giving them the individualized attention they need and helping them build their grade level skills, as well as their confidence.
Jace, Kayden, Zoey, and Kira represent just one family out of the hundreds that School on Wheels supports each year through wraparound academic programming, thanks to support from our donors. As children and families deal with the rippling impact of COVID on education, the need for School on Wheels is more critical than ever before. With more than a year of learning lost during the pandemic, kids facing homelessness need even more support to develop grade level skills, progress to the next grade, and have the educational support they need to graduate.
That’s why School on Wheels is expanding our programs this year. We have developed strategic alliances with five new schools, including several high schools in order to help seniors at most risk of not graduating. We have also intensified our engagement in select elementary schools with the highest rates of homelessness where students demonstrated the most significant learning loss last school year.
This expansion not only increases the number of students we can serve; it also means we are able to connect with students like Jace and Kayden for longer periods of time. You can help ensure more students have access to these vital programs. A full month of tutoring and academic support for one School on Wheels student costs $200. When you make a gift today, you are providing these children with the educational tools necessary to achieve success in life and break the cycle of homelessness.
Together with your support, we can help more families overcome the obstacles to securing a stable and successful future for their children. Thank you!