Jordan called a local shelter home for many years after living on the streets and "couch surfing." He was 16.  He dreamed of one day using his talents and passion to become self-sufficient, yet kept those dreams to himself. Jordan had suffered years of depression, anxiety and hopelessness. He said he found solace at the shelter for the homeless as it "took me away from my problems."

A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan was introduced to SOWMA's Bridge Program and his now Mentor Jim Whalen. His case manager first visited our office for academic materials and a writing journal to help Jordan collect his thoughts.

It was there he met Bridge Program Director Jonathan Vincent, who heard his story and soon introduced him to a business executive turned SOWMA Mentor, Jim Whalen. Jim's first words to the reticent young man were, "Right now may be your past and present, but it won't be your future."

An aspiring entrepreneur with a talent for cabinet making, Jordan was quick to show Jim hidden photos of the tables, bureaus and other furniture pieces that were stored on his phone and in his dreams.  He was first introduced to woodworking at a shop class while attending a vocational high school.  His eyes widened as he eagerly described the craftsmanship and details behind each piece he has since created and stored away. 

Jim was visibly impressed. The furniture and details were stunning. He set up informational interviews with agencies such as SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) and together they researched local schools that offered business courses. They began a portfolio and Jordan started full-time work at a local tool shop.

Today, the two are brainstorming company names, researching craft fairs, Etsy and other online commerce platforms. They are talking about websites, business cards and ROI, a term that sparked joy as Jordan contemplated the meaning. 

He is living in a safe, affordable apartment, playing the guitar and enrolling in online webinars.  When he begins to feel anxious, he picks up the phone and calls Jim.

"Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is that I want to see how this movie plays out," Jordan said as he looked mischievously at his new friend Jim.  


Hats off to our 2020 Senior Volunteers! 

By Jessica Zhang, Student at Noble and Greenough School

“I was incredibly lucky to be working with such inspiring kids!” 

           Walking up the steps of the family shelter for my first day of tutoring, I was filled with apprehension.  Butterflies fluttered in my stomach and around my head:  What if the kids don’t like me? What if I’m a terrible tutor? I don’t have younger siblings, nor do I babysit.  The idea of a roomful of children seemed daunting.  Despite my self-doubt, I opened the door.

June, 2020

Dear Friend of SOWMA,

There are many ways to help our most vulnerable students stay engaged with learning during these difficult times.  With school closures and physical distancing in effect, our students face unique challenges as they simultaneously face the disruption and uncertainty of homelessness.  We expect an increased demand for our services as more children and youth will need academic, social and emotional support in the months and year ahead.  Below are ways you can support our mission.  Whether through a financial donation, volunteer time or a supply drive, you can make a significant impact for a child in need.  Thank you for exploring ways to support our kids.  

To visit our office this summer and help prepare and customize backpacks, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

With warm regards, 

Kathleen Graham
Executive Director 

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United Way of Greater Plymouth County

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School on Wheels - MA
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East Bridgewater, Massachusetts 02333


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