Pivoting for Kids in 2021; SOWMA's Response to the Pandemic


In a year riddled with challenges brought on by COVID-19 and remote learning, especially for families and students facing homelessness, School on Wheels of Massachusetts (SOWMA) pivoted to meet a growing need for educational services.  Since the onset of the pandemic, we have recalibrated programs, reconfigured partnerships and recently appointed new Board Members and Officers to meet the growing educational needs for the state’s most vulnerable children and youth.   

This year SOWMA's services have become more important than ever.  The need for personal tutoring, high school and college mentoring and grade-level customized backpacks for Massachusetts students impacted by homelessness peaked during 2020.  More students now live in family shelters, transitional housing or in the case of older unaccompanied youth, “couch surf” with friends or relatives.  

When social-distancing mandates began in March, tutoring turned remote and children living in family shelters lost the personal weekly visits of volunteers.  Restrictions further cancelled more than 120 business and group annual school supply drives, interrupting the inventory necessary to continue serving more than 6,000 students in need.  College students displaced from dorms needed immediate safe and affordable housing.

SOWMA didn’t miss a beat. 

We purchased Chromebooks for tutoring, made possible by generous donors and a matching grant.  Families, neighborhoods and businesses sought creative ways to not only meet, but exceed the growing demand for new grade-level backpacks and inventory.  Donors, a generous public and staff members opened their doors and hearts to college students in need of temporary refuge. 

SOWMA is poised to continue to meet the growing demand for academic, social and emotional support to some of the state’s 24,000 children and youth facing homelessness.  Newly appointed Board members and Officers bring an array of professional expertise into the New Year to help ensure the state’s most vulnerable students have what they need to succeed in school. 

Spearheading these initiatives is a new Chief Executive Officer, to be announced in January.  We welcome our new stewards, who have generously pledged their time, expertise and heart to ensure our mission continues to gain momentum into 2021 and beyond, without missing a beat.  


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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


Federal Tax ID 20-1020880