This School on a Bus Is Bringing Education to Everyone

October 2, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


Education. To me, education is it. If you don’t know how to
read, if you don’t know how to write, if you
don’t know how to spell then life is tough. And people having real problems in these different neighborhoods. You’re gonna feed your
kids or you’re gonna go to school; you’re gonna pay your rent or you’re gonna go to
school, and I understand that ’cause I’ve been there. But I want people to know that
the bus represents change, change in self, change in community, change in everything. I want them to see that this
bus is something different and anything is possible. (calm music) (somber piano music) I grew up in Sunnydale
projects in San Francisco. It was just me and my
brother and my sister, my mother had to work a
lot, she did overnights. This a really rough
neighborhood, and as I grew up, a lot of people started
fighting, selling drugs, doing drugs, so I started
selling drugs and robbery, prostitution, and dropped out of school to do what I wanted to do. Then one day, my son, he asked me, “You didn’t go to school,
why I gotta go to school?” So I started thinking
about changing my life. I went to a lady who’s in our community and she said, “There’s a
program coming called Five Keys. “You can learn how to
read and get your GED “or your high school diploma.” It was like everything just
started falling in place. From that point, I started
going, going, going, going until I learned how to read. I graduated in 2015, had the cap and gown, I walked down, they played the little music, it was almost the happiest day of my life. And I said OK, now that I graduated, I got my high school
diploma, can I get a job? And they made a position for me; that’s what I am now,
the Community Ambassador; and so now I’m giving back
and I’m helping other people. Five Keys’ mobile classroom
is a classroom on wheels. It’s a bus that drives up
to different neighborhoods, different projects, and
we spend about three hours in each neighborhood. – Yes! – Happy to see you. – [Shelia] From there,
people get on the bus, we’ll give them their homework packets, and they do their work. – Subtract that number and
then you get the number. – [John] Exactly, you
subtract that number. – Yeah, and then you get
the answer that you want. You know if I have a problem,
I’m calling you, right? – Yeah. Let me show you a couple
more things though before we start. – We started operating a few years ago and ever since then,
we have a lot of people that come on the bus. Give me some love. – Hi, baby.
– Hi honey. – I guess you could call it
like an education desert. There’s not the facilities;
there’s not the infrastructure, and it’s difficult for students to get to where there are classrooms, so it was designed with that in mind. And the fact that the bus is unique, there’s a sense of pride with that that OK, this is maybe a community that has been historically underserved but now, we have something
that no one else has. – We serve everyone from
different walks of life, we have people that’s
working, that’s not working, we have people from age
16 to 116, doesn’t matter. Some people come with their kids, some people come straight from work, some people come before
they have to go to work, they put a lot of time and effort in ’cause they really want their education. (knocks) Hi, it’s Shelia. Hi honey. My role on this bus is to go out to the different neighborhoods and knock on people’s doors. I’ll go wherever they need me to be, ’cause I’m that person
that tries to get them in and try to keep them in. Hi, how you doing, I’m
going to give you this, it’s about Five Keys. If you know anybody that need a GED or high school diploma, right
there, that big green bus. Totally free. I’ll call them; I’ll bug them; I’ll text them; I’ll email
them, whatever it takes. I just want you to get
your education, that’s it. I didn’t even know how
to read a book to my son, and I got four kids, my oldest is 30. I let them know my story
like I couldn’t read, so don’t be ashamed that you can’t read, that you can’t do math,
that you dropped out in fifth, sixth grade, it doesn’t matter, just come on back and we got you. I can show you, better, I can tell you. – [Man] OK. – OK, nice meeting you guys.
– You too. – See you on Thursday. You too, God bless. – It be hard in the morning getting up, but guess what? It’s worth it, because
you come here to learn things that you never
learned or never knew. It’s an encouraging
thing, it’s like you know, I’m getting ready, it’s
like I’m going to school, I feel like a big kid,
it’s like, you know? – So I have a total of 20 squares. – I dropped out of school
in the sixth grade. Since then, it has been
one heck of a ride. I always have some excuse
as to why I couldn’t get it done, but it wasn’t no excuse. Now we’re working on algebra
and I’m looking forward to graduating at the next graduation. – This bus has impacted hundreds of lives in these different neighborhoods. It makes me happy to see a mother or a father come on
this bus with their kids and push through. I don’t want them to feel like we’re just another program that
came in the neighborhood and now we’re gone, because we’re here; we’re here to stay, so
that’s why I keep going ’cause I want them to
know that we’re real. Four.
– Yeah! – Yay, high five, ah. God gave me a second chance, and I wanna show people that they can get a second chance too.