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School on Wheels aims to break poverty cycle, helps educate homeless students

Posted at 1:06 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 18:45:53-05

INDIANAPOLIS – Three days a week, both tutors and students gain a friend during the School on Wheels program held at a homeless shelter in downtown Indy.

In a windowless room, in the basement of Wheeler Mission, is where the magic happens on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

School on Wheels, an organization designed to equip children with the educational tools to achieve success in life and break the cycle of homelessness, brings in tutors to help students develop academically and socially.

Catherine O’Donnell said she and other tutors spend their nights not just teaching, but connecting with the children.

“It's very eye-opening for me. Just knowing that this is happening in our own backyard. That people are truly having to bounce from shelter to shelter just to have a place to stay at night,” said O’Donnell. “I feel like I get just as much from it as the students do.”

O’Donnell has served as a tutor with School on Wheels for the past two years and said while she has seen children come and go, her favorite is 5-year-old Miles.

“He can multiply negative numbers. He can add fractions. He reads at a 4th grade level. I mean the kid is brilliant,” she said.

The School on Wheels program wouldn’t be possible without donations and community support, which is why RTV6 will match all donations during the month of February up to $25,000.

Learn more about School on Wheels at

RELATED | RTV6 will match up to $25,000 in donations to "School on Wheels" in February