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.

Tara and Stephanie
(Left to right: Marketing Director, Tara DiPersio & Program Assistant, Stephanie St. Louis)

Our School on Wheels staff are exceptional. Time and time again they go above and beyond to support our kids. Recently Stephanie, our Program Assistant, dropped of supplies for one of our students.

"Today I dropped off a book bag to a little boy who has close ties to me personally. He and his mother have been homeless for two years, moving back to Massachusetts from Florida. I gave him his new book bag and he looked at it with excitement and said "Red is my favorite color, this is the best backpack ever!" 

Thank you Stephanie for going above and beyond for SOWMA's kids!


 Outrunning Homelessness 2015

Friends and families came out in droves to help School on Wheels of Massachusetts take steps to end the cycle of homelessness during the 5th Annual Outrunning Homelessness 5K Race and Family Fun Walk on a crisp, sunny Saturday, April 25.

SOWMA’s event, which kicked off at 9 a.m. at DCR’s Borderland State Park in Easton, raised $46,000, surpassing funds raised at last year’s event by $5,400. SOWMA is grateful to anchor sponsor Crescent Credit Union, as well as all of this year’s sponsors for making this such a successful event, once again.

Among the walkers and runners was a team of 20 from Harbour House Family Center in New Bedford, the site of one of SOWMA’s tutoring programs, led by Program Director Shelly Correia. “The families who live at Harbour House were so excited to join the staff for the fun run,” says Correia. “The children had a great time and the parents were so grateful to see so many people participating in the event to benefit their children. One very pregnant mom who participated in the walk told me that she found the walk to be soothing and relaxing amongst all the trees, bridges and ponds.”

In April, SOWMA had the pleasure of welcoming 3 Bridgewater State University students to come and learn more about School on Wheels of Massachusetts for their Learning Service Project. Christine was kind enough to share information about her learning service project and her experience at School on Wheels.
BSU Students

(Pictured from right to left) Olivia, Keila, and Christine

We are undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in a School and Community Health course at Bridgewater State University where we had the goal of identifying a community need for our service-learning project.  The need we identified that has a vast impact on today's society is homelessness. 

Homelessness is an epidemic across the state of Massachusetts as well as within every city and town, within every state across the United States.

We visited the School on Wheels organization in Brockton to learn more about family homelessness. While we were there we assisted in the preparation of the goody bags for the participants for SOWMA’s 5th Annual Outrunning Homelessness 5K Race & Family Fun Walk held on Saturday April, 25 from 9am-noon at Borderland State Park in North Easton.  

We cannot say enough about the School on Wheels organization. They are a great resource for children who are struggling with homelessness while trying to stay in school. School on Wheels helps give these children a chance at a bright future by supplying the tools they need to succeed by gaining an education. They collect donations of backpacks, school supplies, sponsoring students, tutoring/mentoring but they do so much more. 

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