Children Labor

TUTORING HOMELESS CHILDREN

I was 46 years old and with my only child entering high school, I was praying about what I should do with the second half of my life. As a teacher and educator, I volunteered at my daughter’s school, and one day I picked up a magazine to read while I was waiting for my next student. I was looking for a pumpkin cheesecake recipe in a magazine when an article called ‘Lessons in Love’ caught my attention. There was an older lady standing there with a child, both holding school supplies and backpacks in their hands. It was Agnes Stevens and she had started a program called School on Wheels in California. Agnes was a retired nun and school teacher who had been teaching school across the street from a homeless shelter. All the homeless kids would come to school without supplies or backpacks. Here was a woman who saw social injustice, wanted to do something about it, and just did it. As I was reading the article, it felt like God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Here you go.” I called Agnes and asked her how to start the program here in Massachusetts. And I did. We started in 2004 by working with two family shelters, giving out 50 backpacks and tutoring about 20 kids a week. By the time I retired as executive director in June 2018, we had 14 program sites tutoring over 250 kids and giving out 2,800 backpacks. I always knew this was too big for me, but it wasn’t too big for God. There were lots of God signs that this was what I should do. I just had to listen for them. A mentor told me, “This is not your work, this is His work.” I continue to serve on the advisory board for School on Wheels, and still stay in touch with many of our students, some who have graduated college. I feel God has blessed me so much. I can’t tell you how my life has changed.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Julie Brenann
    March 20, 2019 at 10:38 am

    You should be very proud of how much you grew the program in Massachusetts! Your work is inspiring. It is wonderful to know how many children were served and continue to be served.

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