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This year I have had the incredible experience of tutoring homeless children, both in a homeless shelter setting as well as in the classroom. The time spent with these remarkable, sweet, funny and eager children has been one of the most enriching times of my life.

When Margaret Ferrell, a cardiologist at a local hospital, started working with Elijah, a very bright 8th grader living at the Harbour House shelter in New Bedford, she recognized that her student had special gifts.  He was taking honor classes in school but he was not working to his full potential.  Elijah rarely had homework to do during tutoring, so Margaret would go on the computer and challenge Elijah to discover new things he was interested in. Elijah said that what he liked best about his tutor was she was smart and never treated him differently because he was homeless. She made him feel like a normal kid!

This year, School on Wheels of Massachusetts will deliver 500 Holiday Learning Boxes to children whose lives have been impacted by homelessness. 

The students in our programs know they can count on us for one-on-one tutoring and mentoring, as well as backpacks, books and school supplies.

Filled with tools for learning, books, and challenging games, these learning boxes will be delivered to students living in shelters and motels in Massachusetts during the holiday season.

3 Ways to Help:

Wear Love the company that invites you to "put it on -wear it out", is on a mission to make a difference one shirt at a time! For every shirt that is sold this December through SOWMA , Wear Love  will donate $10 to support the School on Wheels of Massachusetts vision: that all children have the academic support necessary to achieve a bright and productive future that will help end the cycle of homelessness.

At age 18, Suffolk University sophomore Marc-Daniel Paul seems destined for success. A Brockton High graduate who experienced homelessness as a teen, Paul was chosen as a Bank of America Student Leader and published his first book, Breathing Ink: The Heart of Poetry, during his senior year in high school. As an intern in the office of state Sen. Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford) this summer, Paul wrote an amendment to the Massachusetts State Budget which will save college students with MassHealth insurance coverage thousands of dollars by allowing them to remain on their health insurance and not be required to purchase their school’s health insurance. The bill was signed by Gov. Deval Patrick in July.

The Challenge: Be the OtterBox division to raise the most money in one month in support of a non-profit organization and the OtterCares Foundation would match the funds with a 100% match. The first step was to decide which non-profit to support. Emily Panetsos and Drew Hovanec, two young professionals, from the Canton office took the lead and started researching nonprofits online to find an organization that met the criteria they had set up. The non-profit had to support innovation and education with an entrepreneurial spirit. They narrowed their choices to 4 worthy agencies and the employees voted. The tipping point for choosing School on Wheels of Massachusetts was this organization supports children in their community  impacted by homelessness. Knowing that the students they would be helping could live right in their own backyard swayed the OtterBox Boston team to choose SOWMA for their Company Challenge. In less than a month 15 employees raised a total of $5,200 to help our kids!

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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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