In a corner of Western Avenue Elementary School’s yard, a dozen children excitedly circle Charles Evans at the end of their day.
One child bounces a ball, another picks a handful of play slime out of a jar as the others chirp with enthusiasm.
While other children have gone home for the day, Evans rounds up this group who have no homes. He leads them down the street to South Los Angeles Learning Center, where he runs an after-school program for homeless children.
Almost 13,500 students out of around 680,000 in the LA Unified School District were homeless in the 2009-10 school year, a more than 50% increase from five years ago, due largely to unemployment and foreclosures.
The center run by School on Wheels used to open one day a week, but Evans now collects the kids daily after school for two hours, until their shelters open. The program got its name from the tutors who visit children such as Jayla weekly, in shelters, parks and libraries.