66 - Ventura, CA
"Education was my escape from poverty and my family’s too, so I understood the importance of education and how it can change your life. I felt that if I could help just one homeless student understand that, I would feel like I’d done something.”"
Catherine Meek was the head of her own successful consulting firm in when she decided she needed to do something more. Catherine had broken down barriers throughout her life, but perhaps none as significant as escaping a childhood in poverty in her native Glasgow, Scotland. Education had been her way out, and she wanted to help others receive the same opportunities. Catherine saw a PSA on television for School on Wheels and became the first volunteer to tutor homeless children in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. She gradually became more and more involved and now serves as the organization’s executive director.
School on Wheels trains and matches thousands of volunteers who go out into their community to work with homeless children, encouraging volunteers to participate in their communities and understand the issues involved in poverty, homelessness and education. Catherine believes educating our youth is one of the most important issues we face as a country. It’s the one sure way out of poverty. Breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty helps our communities, our country, our future.
Catherine has turned a small, grassroots nonprofit into an organization that last year provided educational assistance to more than 6,500 homeless children in 150 communities throughout southern California. Her goal is to break down any barriers that exist for homeless students to get a quality education. That's why Catherine is a 2012 Woman of Worth!