• Osceola high school students turn derelict bus into homework sanctuary for homeless students

    By: Jamie Holmes

    Updated:

    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Three high school students in Osceola County have taken a big step to help the homeless among their classmates in having a safe, quiet place to do their homework.

    Dubbed the Homework Bus, Carter Allen, one of three brothers who undertook the project said they noticed the bus on Craigslist and had an epiphany.

    “It’s a way to give back to the community, because the differences in poverty, it’s unbelievable,” Allen said. “I had to see it to believe the stories I heard.”

    The Allen brothers started a Florida-based charity, raised money for the project, found building supplies to be donated and got to work.

    And the three had some serious work to do.

    “It used to be a party bus,” Allen said.

    The plan is to park the bus in the parking lots of hotels along State Road 192, where hundreds of homeless Osceola County students live.

    At the hotels, the Allens explain, students generally don’t have internet access or computers and sometimes end up having to do their homework in their parents’ car.

    With the Homework Bus, they will have access to laptop computers, Wi-Fi and free use of laser printers.

    Tutoring will also be offered by area junior and senior high school students, and the brothers hope to develop a program for retired teachers to also provide tutoring in the future.

    A student’s home situation should not affect the level of their academic achievement, Reese Allen said.

    “There’s so much potential in those children,” he said.

    “We wanted to give these kids a chance at what they want to do in the future,” Carter Allen said.

    The bus will be parked at different places at different times, and hopefully, the Allens said, it is only the first of several Homework Buses.

    The brothers dream of a fleet of the buses – at least one for every yellow school bus that stops to drop off students at the motels and hotels along State Road 192.

    “It’s like they say, saving one kid may not change the world, but it will change the world for that kid,” Carter Allen said. “I think that’s what we’re trying to do.”

    The Allen brothers were still working on setting up a schedule for the Homework Bus, which will start serving Osceola County students in February.

    Walk-in spots will be available on the Homework Bus, but students can also reserve a place onlineor by phone, once a hotline number is established.

    Next Up: