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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