Mission Moments

A message from Executive Director, Kathleen Graham

Our staff meetings begin with each of us describing a recent “mission moment.”  These exchanges range from a staffer who described welcoming 8-year-old twins, who arrived carrying new backpacks they gathered in lieu of birthday gifts, to another recalling the expression of a young girl who tried unsuccessfully to hold back tears as she was handed school materials sporting her favorite color or Disney theme.  Always there's a heartwarming story from a tutor or mentor, whose student has just begun to read on his own - or who recently passed the GED.  

My mission moments were plentiful during a recent School on Wheels opening at Pilgrim’s Hope, one of our new tutoring locations in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  It was I who held back tears as 6thgrader Mollie opened her new backpack and tore through the freshly-packaged contents in search of the gem – her new reading book.  Mollie shrieked with delight as she pulled out the popular “A Fault in Our Stars.”  Her mother was equally excited and pointed out that her eldest daughter had recently begun reading that very book, but had to return it to the local library just as she neared the middle of the story.  

Mollie was one of more than a dozen children who, together with their parents, joined us on this summer night in Plymouth to learn about our work, receive school materials, and sign up for our one-on-one tutoring program. Registration took place in a bright and cheerful education room at the place these children call home.  Suzanne Giovanetti, CEO of the Plymouth Area Coalition for the Homeless, welcomed School on Wheels staff and helped usher in the trunk-load of customized backpacks labeled with each child’s name and grade and packaged accordingly.  

Another mission moment surfaced that night during the dedication of the School on Wheels' Jennifer Kane Memorial Lending Library, namesake of the Plymouth resident who lost her life on September 11, 2001 while working in the World Trade Center in New York.  This Lending Library is brimming with new books, courtesy of Scholastic Books and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - and sponsored by Jennifer’s parents, George and Faye Kane.   “A is for America” is tonight’s book of honor, a loving tribute to the Kane family and presented to the Lending Library by longtime friends of the Kane’s, Pat and Michael Sullivan.  Jennifer Kane, Pat explained, was an avid reader and strong proponent of literacy - and she was the first to lend a hand to a child in need.  It was a fitting tribute.

Soon the children are scattered about the floor, eagerly exchanging colored notebooks and pencil cases reminiscent of my own childhood exchanges of Snickers and Skittles on Halloween night.   

It’s mission moments like these where I find myself saluting sponsors like the Stratford Foundation, the Blue Hills Bank Foundation, Cape Cod 5 Foundation, the United Way of Greater Plymouth County - and you - who collectively helped to make this community a new home for School on Wheels.  

Thank you! 

Below:  Children exchange treasures, Suzanne Giovanetti with Kathleen Graham, and Pat and Michael Sullivan, a parent registers for tutoring, the Jennifer L. Kane Lending Library.  


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United Way of Greater Plymouth County

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School on Wheels - MA
100 Laurel Street
Suite 121
East Bridgewater, Massachusetts 02333


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