Welcome to our New Executive Director Kathleen Graham!

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Kathleen Graham as our new executive director.

Kathleen will take over for our Founder and Executive Director Cheryl Opper, who started the organization from her home in Easton, MA in 2004 after reading a magazine article about a woman who started a School on Wheels in Los Angeles to help homeless children.   Throughout the past 14 years, Opper has grown the organization from a handful of volunteers who assembled backpacks in her basement and offered tutoring at two family shelters in Brockton, to a leading charity that addresses the educational needs of some of the 21,000+ children and youth throughout the state who are experiencing homelessness.    

Today SOWMA supports the academic, social and emotional growth of  students, who range in age from kindergarten to college, by providing grade-level customized backpacks, one-on-one tutoring and mentoring and college assistance during times of disruption and instability.

Chris Murphy, Chairman of SOWMA’s 19-member Board of Directors, and his executive search team reviewed more than 100 candidates before selecting Graham.

Since 2004, SOWMA has distributed more than 12,800 new and customized backpacks, tutored more than 2,700 students and celebrated 25 college graduations.  The nonprofit currently services 15 site locations in 9 communities throughout Southeastern MA, spanning from Brockton to Fall River.

Graham comes to the organization with more than 12 years of non-profit experience in youth services, including the Boys and Girls Club of Marshfield where she started as Program Director in 2006 and became Executive Director and CEO in 2014.  

During her tenure she’s received numerous awards, including most recently the 40 under 40 business leadership award from the Cape and Plymouth Business Journal for unprecedented success in developing private partnerships that increase services for the underserved.   

“We are convinced that Kathleen will seamlessly take the reins and expand upon SOWMA’s mission to stem the tide of homelessness throughout Massachusetts,” Murphy said.     

Opper will be instrumental in overseeing the leadership transition and will remain a key member of SOWMA’s advisory board as she pursues her interest in establishing housing for unaccompanied youth in Massachusetts.    

“School on Wheels of Massachusetts is an amazing organization and I feel blessed to have been selected as its team leader,” said Graham.

“I look forward to building upon Cheryl's accomplishments and expanding the reach and network of supporters to benefit even more children, youth and communities throughout Massachusetts,” Graham said.

Welcome aboard, Kathleen!  Please reach out to Kathleen by calling (508) 587-9091 ext 108 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!


More in this category: « A Small Gesture With a Big Impact

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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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