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Jakensen Graduating
Cheryl Opper, Director of School on Wheels attends the graduation of a SOWMA student, Jackenson Verdul, from New Bedford High School. Also in attendance was his high school tutor Steve Cerce, left, and his college mentor Tom Amaral to the right. Jackenson is headed to Curry College this fall!

Read more about Jakensen.


The mission of School on Wheels of Massachusetts is to educate children impacted by homelessness by providing academic support and one-on-one mentoring so children can reach their full potential. Our main program is one-on-one tutoring at shelters, hotels, learning centers, and schools. We are currently seeking four Site Coordinators: one at the Youth Division learning center in Brockton, one at the Randolph Community Middle School, one at the Louison Center in Brockton and one at the Roy St. shelter in Fall River. The Site Coordinator supervises the tutors and students at a particular site, and is the connection among shelter/school staff, children and families, tutors, and School on Wheels staff.

Review full job description here.

Please contact:

Robin Gilbert, Operations Director
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“Excuse me, what is your name?”

Stevie locks his clear green eyes on mine and listens. He looks upward to visualize the letters in my name as I spell it for him. He is a first-grader who’s very excited about his newest skill: reading.

At six years old, Stevie is living at the Harbour House Family Shelter in New Bedford with his father and four-year-old brother. At just six, he’s lost much: his mother, his home, and belongings. His treasures—like transformers and books—are all in storage. Yet, despite the trauma he has experienced, Stevie is charming, polite, and inquisitive.

Each week David Brooks, a School on Wheels tutor, meets with Stevie to help him with school work. They focus on Stevie’s interests, which include sharks and drawing, as well as areas where he needs help. I asked Stevie what he works on with his tutor. “Reading and math, mostly,” he answered. “I’ve already read three whole books,” he adds, feigning nonchalance, but I can tell he’s quite proud. Brooks has made a commitment to see that Stevie does not fall behind in his learning. “He’s extremely bright,” Brooks observes. “Once Stevie warmed up to tutoring, he became an absolute pleasure to work with. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

AnaIn 2005, 15-year-old Ana Lobo arrived from Cape Verde to live in Brockton with her older sister. Speaking little English, but with an intense drive to learn, Ana was focused on obtaining a high-quality education. As a sophomore at Brockton High School Ana met Beth Young, who is a veteran School on Wheels tutor. For the last eight years, with Beth’s guidance and support, Ana received a high school diploma from BHS in 2010 and earned her Associate’s Degree from Massasoit Community College.

Beth has remained by Ana’s side because, she says, "Ana is a very hard worker who holds herself to high standards. I've always been so impressed with her work ethic and motivation. As the mother of 9-year-old Brianna, Ana juggles quite a bit,” Beth explains. In addition to caring for her child, Ana worked 20-25 hours a week, consistently maintaining a GPA greater than 3.0, while at Massasoit Community College.

Cheryl Opper

Cheryl Opper, Founder and Executive Director of School on Wheels of Massachusetts, was a recipient of the YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Award. Cheryl was honored at an dinner on May 27 at Rachel's Lakeside in Westport, MA.

The event honored women in the community who have dedicated their lives to eliminating racism, empowering women and mentoring women and girls, which Cheryl has accomplished through her commitment to providing educational support to children impacted by homelessness.

Team SOWMA is proud of you, Cheryl!


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.

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