07, Mar 2012
Posted by admin
Over the past few years, many are feeling the effects of the economic recession. Some have lost their jobs. Some have lost their homes. This has left many children homeless and no where to turn once they leave school. One organization, School on Wheels, seeks to remedy some of the situation by providing after school tutoring and programs for these children.
â€śThe Recession has been a man-made disaster for vulnerable children,â€ť Ellen L. Bassuk, MD, President and Founder of The National Center on Family Homelessness and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School said in a press statement. â€śThere are more homeless children today than after the natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which caused historic levels of homelessness in 2006. The Recessionâ€™s economic devastation has left one in 45 children homeless in a yearâ€”an increase of 38% from 2007 to 2010.â€ť
According to The National Center on Family Homelessness over 1.6 million children are homeless, often leaving them without strong family support after school lets out.
However, many times this displacement from the home is temporary, but the effects can be long lasting as homeless children often suffer from hunger, poor physical and emotional health, and missed educational opportunities.
School on Wheels, founded in 1993, provides volunteers that go out to homeless shelters, motels and other places that homeless children live to provide services to children. Volunteers, who are matched up with students for an entire school year, will help children with their homework, and then provide activities to help keep the kid engaged in productive, educational activities.
One thing the school makes sure to do as well, is also help those children who are not in school get enrolled in the public school system.
In California, the organization provides tutoring services to over 2,000 children from the ages 8 to 15 years old in 150 locations.
â€śThey need people who want to make a difference. An hour a week may seem like [a] small amount of time but it is a lot of time for a child in need. We are giving them bigger horizons beyond what is their world and peers, and establishing some goals,â€ť Steve Hagberg, a School on Wheels volunteer said to The Ventura County Reporter.
Steve and his wife Laurie began volunteering with School on Wheels, after going through a similar situation that many of the families they help face. They now help two different families, tutoring their children and helping with after school activities.
â€śJust because weâ€™re homeless doesnâ€™t mean they donâ€™t deserve a good education. They [Steve and Laurie] helped my boys with things I couldnâ€™t help them with,â€ť Jocelyn, the mother of one of the children Steve helps, said to The Ventura County Reporter, explaining that she accepted the opportunity immediately to give her children any advantage she could. â€śSometimes a parent alone isnâ€™t enough.â€ť
The Hagbergs are just one example of volunteers that help with School on Wheels. For those that want to volunteer, there are three chapters of the organization based in Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Brockton, Mass.