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Sadly, family homelessness is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in our country. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development reported that there were close to 5,000 families in emergency shelter in the fall of 2014. This is an increase of 25% from 2013. With family shelters filled to capacity, over 1,400 families are currently being sheltered in motels throughout our state. Keep in mind that this number does not include families who are: “doubled up, living in unsafe conditions, or sleeping in their cars,” reports the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.


For the third time in five years SOWMA was chosen to receive the prestigious Sun Life Rising Star award and three SOWMA students received the honor of being chosen as a “Rising Star” amongst their high school peers. This year’s winning student Jakensen Verdul, a senior at New Bedford High School, received a Sun Life $5,000 scholarship grant that will allow him to pursue his dream of going to college and earning a business degree. Jakensen will be the first in his family to go to college! In a Sun Life pre-game check presentation at a Celtics game in November Jakensen was surprised with a large check and a meet and greet session with one of his favorite basketball players former Celtics point guard, Rajon Rondo. Jakensen’s family and his tutors watched the Celtics game from a luxury box and received gifts of a new Sun Life tote bag to top off a night they will always remember!

Family Game Night

Sadly, there are close to 400 families experiencing homelessness across the South Shore that are calling a hotel room their temporary home. With family shelters filled to capacity more and more homeless families are living in hotels for longer periods of time. Each family shares a single room with a mini refrigerator and very little space to keep their possessions. The children are not allowed in each other’s rooms and the parking lot is their playground. School on Wheels of Massachusetts will be hosting Family Game Nights during school vacations in area hotels on the South Shore. Game night provides an opportunity for children and their families to socialize; relax and have some fun despite their circumstances and the cold winter days.

With your help, we've collected 400 new games to ensure each child has a game to take back to their room to play with their family. Our kids are thrilled to pick out a new game that belongs to them!

SOWMA's dedicated volunteers helped pack more than 400 Holiday Gift Boxes for the students we serve. We had amazing turnout of volunteers including individuals, families, schools, civic groups and businesses.

Still more volunteers, as well as SOWMA staff delivered the Holiday Gift Boxes to our children who are living in the shelters and motels.

Two girls at the Westgate Hotel in Brockton open and share their Holiday Gift Boxes. 

I visited School on Wheels’ tutoring site at the Rodeway Inn in Brockton recently, and worked with a second-grader named Grace. Grace arrived and pulled out her math homework, which she had already begun. We reviewed the problems and finished it together.

While working with Grace, I sensed math could be a little tricky for her. So, when she wanted to play with the toy money and coins after finishing her homework, I thought that was perfect. We set up a small, imaginary shop. First, I was the owner and Grace was my customer. I asked her to count her money, so we could figure out her budget and then she shopped. We then switched roles and I was the shopper.


Randolph Savings Bank has given School on Wheels of MA (SOWMA) the opportunity to bring one-on-one tutoring services to underserved students in the Randolph area, by providing funding for SOWMA to open a tutoring site at the Randolph Community Middle School for its students who are experiencing homelessness during the 2014-15 school year. SOWMA delivered backpacks stocked with new school supplies to children at the start of the school year, and tutoring kicked off in early October.

Students like Mikayla, a sixth-grader working on a biographical writing project, benefited immediately from the new support she received from her own tutors, as well as others at the site.  Their encouragement boosted her self-confidence and helped her bring her work to a more sophisticated level as she prepared her written and oral presentation about singer Whitney Houston. Mikayla presented her work to her classmates with pride, and received the positive response that she deserved. Read Mikayla’s story.

Randolph Savings whole-heartedly supported SOWMA in bringing services to the Randolph community.  Says Richard Olson, Senior Vice President, Retail Banking, “The work School on Wheels does changes lives and the programs they provide—from their tutoring, to reading programs, to writing contests—all of those efforts are instrumental in helping children get back on track with education despite the obstacles of homelessness. We’re thrilled to partner with SOWMA on the opening of their new site at Randolph Community Middle School which will provide one-on-one tutoring to make a positive impact on the lives of Randolph families.”

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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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