Nationally-known attorney Ken Feinberg, a Brockton native, returned to his hometown Monday, May 18 to support School on Wheels of Massachusetts as a speaker at a reception to raise awareness of the organization and a visitor to SOWMA’s Brockton headquarters where he heard firsthand about the organization’s impact.
School on Wheels provides customized academic services, one-on-one tutoring and mentoring, new backpacks and school supplies, and educational advocacy to children impacted by homelessness to help each child reach his or her full academic potential.
Feinberg is best known for working pro bono as the Special Master of the Federal September 11 Victim Compensation Fund of 2001. He was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to run The One Fund Boston, the central fund to gather donations for the marathon bombing victims.
During Feinberg’ visit to SOWMA’s headquarters, he met with Cheryl Opper, founder and executive director, and three of SOWMA’s college students who shared with him their experiences of homelessness, their dreams for a better future and how SOWMA’s support has helped them remain focused on their education.
"Today I dropped off a book bag to a little boy who has close ties to me personally. He and his mother have been homeless for two years, moving back to Massachusetts from Florida. I gave him his new book bag and he looked at it with excitement and said "Red is my favorite color, this is the best backpack ever!"
Thank you Stephanie for going above and beyond for SOWMA's kids!
Friends and families came out in droves to help School on Wheels of Massachusetts take steps to end the cycle of homelessness during the 5th Annual Outrunning Homelessness 5K Race and Family Fun Walk on a crisp, sunny Saturday, April 25.
SOWMA’s event, which kicked off at 9 a.m. at DCR’s Borderland State Park in Easton, raised $46,000, surpassing funds raised at last year’s event by $5,400. SOWMA is grateful to anchor sponsor Crescent Credit Union, as well as all of this year’s sponsors for making this such a successful event, once again.
Among the walkers and runners was a team of 20 from Harbour House Family Center in New Bedford, the site of one of SOWMA’s tutoring programs, led by Program Director Shelly Correia. “The families who live at Harbour House were so excited to join the staff for the fun run,” says Correia. “The children had a great time and the parents were so grateful to see so many people participating in the event to benefit their children. One very pregnant mom who participated in the walk told me that she found the walk to be soothing and relaxing amongst all the trees, bridges and ponds.”
In April, SOWMA had the pleasure of welcoming 3 Bridgewater State University students to come and learn more about School on Wheels of Massachusetts for their Learning Service Project. Christine was kind enough to share information about her learning service project and her experience at School on Wheels.
(Pictured from right to left) Olivia, Keila, and Christine
We are undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in a School and Community Health course at Bridgewater State University where we had the goal of identifying a community need for our service-learning project. The need we identified that has a vast impact on today's society is homelessness.
Homelessness is an epidemic across the state of Massachusetts as well as within every city and town, within every state across the United States.
We visited the School on Wheels organization in Brockton to learn more about family homelessness. While we were there we assisted in the preparation of the goody bags for the participants for SOWMA’s 5th Annual Outrunning Homelessness 5K Race & Family Fun Walk held on Saturday April, 25 from 9am-noon at Borderland State Park in North Easton.
We cannot say enough about the School on Wheels organization. They are a great resource for children who are struggling with homelessness while trying to stay in school. School on Wheels helps give these children a chance at a bright future by supplying the tools they need to succeed by gaining an education. They collect donations of backpacks, school supplies, sponsoring students, tutoring/mentoring but they do so much more.
Thirty students from BSU chose to do a fundraiser to support School on Wheels students impacted by homelessness. They organized a raffle at Bertuccis in Mansfield. In addition to the raffle proceeds, SOWMA will receive 15% of the total dining bills at Bertuccis in Mansfield and Attleboro.
The money raised will help SOWMA provide college assistance for students experiencing homelessness. How awesome is that! Assistant Professor Kathy Bailey is the coordinator of this important BSU community awareness event. The event stems from a semester long project from called R.E.A.C.H Day. (Raising Awareness and Education for College Homelessness)
Marty Weiner is a long-time supporter of School on Wheels and the organization’s efforts to provide educational support to students impacted by homelessness. Marty is ever present at SOWMA events, with his smile and enthusiasm, and ready to help.
Marty at the 4 on 4 Basketball Tournament
How many years have you been involved with School on Wheels of Massachusetts’ Basketball Tournament?
I have been involved in directing the School on Wheels of MA 4 on 4 Basketball Tournament since its inception, 5 years ago.
What was your role in planning the event as well as your role the day of?
Our committee: Neal Opper, Russell Opper, Carl Engelbourg, Cheryl Opper, and me have worked together each year to make the event run smoother, and raise more money. On tournament day, I get the pleasure of introducing everyone to the day: the format and the participants. Then I get to sit back and watch the teams compete.