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From our Tutors

Brogan, Edmonton
There are so many opportunities to get involved in the community, something that adapts to your interests is just fun. I like making a difference and giving back. The fact that my family spoke English and gave me the resources helped me, and I wanted to share this with people who don’t have the same resources and opportunities. I remember when I was involved with homework club two years ago, we had a girl who wasn’t super confident in her abilities, but I knew she could do the work and just needed some extra help. She went from the lowest grade in her class to the highest in her Social Studies class.”
Brogan started volunteering with Frontier College in her first year of University as a reading buddy and is currently an OT at the Whitemud Crossing Branch. This will be her fifth year as a volunteer with us. If that wasn’t impressive enough, she holds a degree in Biology and Japanese Linguistics and Literature from the University of Alberta and runs marathons in her free time.


Kareena, Edmonton
I first got involved with Frontier College over the summer, as a Summer Intern. I worked closely with the Frontier College team to run the Indigenous Summer Camps across Alberta. One of the unique parts of my job in the summer was compiling the data from the campers, counselors and community members. I’m not being sarcastic when I say that it was actually quite fun. Reading the positive feedback from everyone involved showed how the camps impacted not only the students but the community as a whole. It was truly an incredible opportunity visiting some of the camps and experiencing the unbelievable hospitality of such tight-knit communities. I knew that I had to continue working with Frontier College so I could see the impact they had on communities closer to home.
Currently, I am an OT at the Whitemud Crossing Library. My fellow OTs and I organize the weekly reading circle sessions held by Frontier College at various public libraries in Edmonton! So far, I have nothing but praise for the program. I love the concept of intergenerational learning, with older mentors helping out young learners, and fostering a habit of reading. Having a small group of 6 learners so far, we are able to notice the changes in attitudes of each learner. The most noticeable change I saw was in one of our learners who at first was very shy but quickly gained more confidence in reading and during our 15 minute board game period.
What I love the most about volunteering as an OT is seeing the excitement among the learners when they pick up a new book and being reminded of my own childhood memories of grabbing a book and not stopping until I finished reading it. I hope to continue working with Frontier College over the years to come and encouraging the love of reading and life-long learning within my community.
Kareena is a third year cell biology student at the University of Alberta and is fascinated by molecular biology research, which happens to be her major. Outside of classes and lab work, she spends a lot of my time at the Cross Cancer Institute and enjoys getting involved in different clubs on campus. One of the clubs she feels truly inspired by is Students for Literacy, which is associated with Frontier College.

Jami, Lethbridge

Frontier College has afforded me the opportunity to develop relationships by working with kids one on one (which I love!) and have the flexibility to continue my education. Spending my time working within a supportive school and out in the community sharing my love of reading and learning is a lot more like fun and a lot less like work. I often say to people, "Can you believe I have a job reading and playing with kids all day?" 


#Faces of Frontier 

Beacock Literacy

Hi, we are the program leaders for the Beacock Homework Club. Vasia is hoping to achieve her HBA whereas Lanqing is a third-year student pursuing a honors specialization in accounting and a minor in psychology. Beacock library is a program which helps kids (age 7-12) with their homework and also leads fun literacy games and activities. We are extremely excited to be a part of the program this year as we want to challenge ourselves in motivating younger students to appreciate the value of learning!


Sally, IS tutor
Volunteering at Frontier College is a real pleasure, bothe because of the rewarding work with students and the fantastic support we receive from all the staff. 
Alex, Montreal
I am so grateful for the time I spent as a volunteer with Frontier College in Montreal. It was a fantastic opportunity to step out of my university campus and contribute directly to the Montreal community. One of the best aspects of volunteering with Frontier College was meeting other people passionate about building literacy skills in their community, including the fantastic Frontier College staff, volunteers, and community members. It was such a privilege to be part of an organization that values its volunteers so highly, provides opportunities for leadership, and makes a direct impact in the community it serves.

Mark, Labourer-Teacher
My time working for Frontier College opened my mind and my heart. Through the Aboriginal Summer Camp program and the Labourer-Teacher program, I had the privilege to meet and learn with Ojibway kids in Norther Ontario and Mexican migrant workers on a farm. I saw parts of the country that I’d never have glimpsed otherwise and I was inspired by the power of words and the tenacity of people to learn and grow. I never stop thinking about my time with FC and I don’t think I ever will. To 25 more years for FC Montreal!

Joanne, Toronto
My name is Joanne and I work at Frontier College. I'm also a tutor who works with a learner from the Independent Studies program. I am supporting her through her studies in preparation for taking the exam to become a Canadian citizen, which is a subject close to my heart since I'm also a Canadian immigrant. My time with my learner is some of the most rewarding of the week. We have struggles sometimes -- why is a Mountie not the same as a mountain? -- but we mostly have a lot of laughter and excitement over new things learned.

In my day-to-day role at Frontier College, I am part of the Communications team and I'm also the contact for alumni, which has introduced me to some interesting people with fascinating stories. It feels great to wake up in the morning and know that I work for an organization that works tirelessly to help people in Canada reach their full potential. There's (truly) never a dull moment and, with staff across the country, there's always someone to talk to or do something for... all with the end result of making learning more accessible for more people! 

I was fortunate to have reading be extremely valued in my family, with books being readily available at home and through the library, where we made frequent visits. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on my dad's lap asking him about words in the newspaper or having my mum read me stories in the evening. The memory of her taking me shopping to buy Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is something I'll always hold dear. That was in 1973 and I still have my original copy!

I'm always curious about what book got people started on their reading journey and I often ask new friends what their most beloved children's book is. I'd love to know yours!

Emmanuelle and Sydney, volunteers, camp counsellors, and OT members
"We are volunteers who have become OT members who have become counsellors for the Indigenous Summer Literacy Camps. We were fortunate enough to discover this organization through Concordia University. As students studying in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Frontier College has provided us with opportunities to gain real-life experiences and learn more about the literacy situation in Canada. We met while volunteering in a reading circle at a CPE. We have become the right arm of one an other! As much as we have become close friends, together we have been able to reach out to children/youth, parents and community members. Thank you Frontier College for offering such opportunities to get involved and spread wonderful resources to communities!" 

Avi, ESL tutor
I started as a volunteer ESL teacher for adults. I had two adult students whose English 
was good but they wanted to improve it for better job opportunities.
One student was out of work for sometime and was looking to get in and the other student was a 
newcomer to Canada. His problem was not the English itself, in fact he had excellent grammar
but his pronunciation made it difficult to understand him. Using techniques I had learned in College 
I was able to guide him to the correct tongue and lips movement required to produce the English 
consonants and especially vowels. I found this extremely rewarding. He was an excellent student
and worked very hard. He was able to apply for his driver's licence soon after that. 
Also I enjoyed the classroom setting at Frontier College and the guidelines given by the coordinator 
of the program. Being able to design my lesson plans according to the needs of the students and seeing 
the difference it made in their lives gave me great joy.
Julia Malone, Tutor, Toronto
We are not simply educating today’s children and youth for the careers of tomorrow. We are teaching them “how to grow physically, intellectually and spiritually.” Frontier College’s programs aim to build safe learning environments where relationships of trust and mentorship can grow between tutors and learners. - Julia Malone, Toronto
Candace Gunn, Tutor, Toronto
When I chose to volunteer with Frontier College I knew I wasn't just going to be standing at the front of a classroom lecturing to a group of children. I knew that I wasn't just going to be waiting for the children to come to me so that I could help them - an idea which so many tutoring organizations premise themselves upon. Frontier College, since its conception, has believed in providing education and educational resources where they are needed. These aspects encompass HOW Frontier College runs. The first Frontier College volunteers/employees were trained individuals who would work alongside loggers, miners and railway workers during the day, and would teach them how to read and write at night. Over one hundred years later and this standard largely remains - with our volunteers going into the communities where there is need. Frontier College's model is different from many other organizations that I've come across and it is a huge reason why I chose to volunteer with them. However, the main reason is because of their motto: "We believe education is a right". They believe and practice what they preach. I volunteer with Frontier College because I believe that education in Canada and abroad is a right and everyone should have access to it. I could work with other tutoring organizations and be paid for my time, but the experience wouldn't be the same. At Frontier College, we train volunteers to become leaders and we recognize that leadership is not about hierarchies but rather is centred on trust and communication. - Candace Gunn, Toronto


Counsellor, Beaver Lake
“Many kids home lives are difficult and it’s not their fault, but hopefully this camp will have them looking forward to school and camp.” – Counsellor, Beaver Lake
Volunteer @ LSS, Accueil & Flora House, MB
“I played mad libs at Accueil Francophone and the people there really enjoyed it! That was one my first times there when there was a lot of laughing, so it was memorable.  I enjoyed my time volunteering, and I think I'll keep volunteering depending on my exam schedule and summer job.”  – Volunteer @ LSS, Accueil & Flora House, MB
Volunteer @ Millennium Library and Flora House, MB
“Being a student with the University of Winnipeg I had not had the opportunity to have had spent many hours with kids in that type of environment. I have learnt from this experience how to become a proper volunteer and better educator. I will take all my skills I have learnt in the program and use it for my future knowledge. I enjoyed working with Frontier College very much and wish to continue in the future. I would recommend anyone looking to work with kids and adults in a literacy environment.”  – Volunteer @ Millennium Library and Flora House, MB
Intesar Saeed, tutor to Ryan Trail, Gr. 11 student with multiple learning and developmental challenges, Fredericton, NB
“I have been tutoring Ryan in math for two years now and I am very proud of him. He has passed his Grade 10 Math class after several failed attempts and his average for Grade 11 Math, including assignments, tests and quizzes, is 80%. A problem that he has is submitting work after the deadline, which has cost him some marks. He is an excellent boy and I enjoy working with him. It is nice to know that hard work pays off.” – Intesar Saeed, tutor to Ryan Trail, Gr. 11 student with multiple learning and developmental challenges, Fredericton, NB
Jianfang (Jennifer) Chen, Fredericton, NB
“It is an amazing experience to tutor in Barkers Point Elementary School. I work with Mr. Rogers, who is quite experienced in education. Last Thursday, I was told by the vice principal that there is a quiet boy who doesn't like school and needs extra help. So I first watched him a few times while I was helping another child with writing.

After I saw Mr. Rogers assigned the class five words to copy, I quickly went up to him. Seeing him at a loss, I knelt down and greeted him with a smiling face. He became relaxed and I offered my help to him. I encouraged him to copy the word "snake". At first, he wrote the wrong symbol for "S", then I held his hand and taught him how to write "S". He made it quickly and I praised him. He got excited and tried another "S". He kept on trying and I taught him to write the letters "Y" and "T". He finished copying five words in a short time. I kept complimenting on him for his hard work. Then he was asked to read a book by himself. I asked him to read first, but he didn't know how to pronounce the words, so I read first and he followed me. I asked him to repeat what I read sentence by sentence. He learned to read little by little.

Sometimes he stopped and asked me questions about the sentence. I explained to him what was happening and he was excited to read on. With my help, he was ready to learn and he worked hard at learning. Seeing him smiling at me confidently, I was deeply touched. My help paid off.

While driving home, I kept thinking of him. As long as I continue to help him with writing and reading, he will catch up with the other children soon.
Working with children really makes me excited and feel my work is rewarding. Thank you for providing me with this chance to work with kids. I will keep on tutoring at Barkers Point Elementary School.” - Jianfang (Jennifer) Chen, Fredericton, NB
Heidi Hoffman, OT, Halifax
“Tutoring with Frontier College for me is more than numbers and words and helping children understand concepts; it has been a life changing experience.  My experience volunteering with Frontier College, a respected organization in the community I volunteer in, has allowed me to seek out new opportunities within that community.  It has allowed me to gain more responsibility, more volunteer opportunities and even paid work opportunities in the summer and throughout the year.  Without the initial step of first volunteering with Frontier College I would not have had dozens of other opportunities to grow as a leader and an individual. I value my role as a tutor with Frontier and could never repay back the invaluable gifts that it has given me.”  – Heidi Hoffman, OT, Halifax
Tammy Wohler, tutor, Halifax
“I just wanted to let you know I am really enjoying working with Jonathan. I am really seeing a difference in his reading ability and his interest in reading. Last night, for the first time, he really read with expression and confidence.

Most thrilling for me is that he’s shown interest in reading for pleasure – when we had first met he told me he didn’t have books at home and most of his reading was the reading of captions/storyline of video games.
After a couple of false starts, I started using Jeff Smith’s Bone graphic novel series for the reading sessions. Jonathan really took to it and would ask to keep going on with the book. We were on volume one when we realized that we were going to miss some sessions (for various reasons) – Jonathan actually asked to borrow the book so he could continue reading it on his own.  He had finished it by the time we worked together again. 
I’ve gotten number two for him to read at home, while we move towards slightly denser texts for Thursday tutoring.  He had finished it by the next week and was hoping for number 3.  It’s really, really great that he’s reading on his own. He recognizes that he doesn’t necessarily know all of the words, but he is enjoying the story all the same and getting into the habit of reading.”– Tammy Wohler, tutor, Halifax
JC Kaiser, Halifax
“After one and a half years volunteering with Frontier College, I can full heartedly say that the experience has been one of the most rewarding I’ve had so far. My initial thoughts on Frontier College were that volunteering with them would only help and reward the students and children that I tutored. Therefore, I started tutoring with the linear idea that only the students benefited and I was just volunteering my time, perhaps similar to other volunteer-oriented organizations. I quickly realized that I was wrong.

From my involvement, Frontier College provides an equally rewarding experience for both the tutor and the student. I’ve been able to improve many vital life skills and develop new ones, which will help me become a better person in the community and going forward. As for the students, almost all attend tutoring sessions each and every week. It’s clear that as a volunteer, you are genuinely helping the educational well being of the student. I’ve been tutoring different students over the past year and a half and nothing feels better then when he or she tells me, “I actually like to read now”, or “Wow, math is kind of easy then!” For me, when I hear things like that I don’t even consider it volunteering. I just think of tutoring these kids as a fun activity that I’m gratefully honoured to be able to do. No other volunteering experience comes close to the reward you get from actively taking interest in the education of these students.

The students that come to the George Dixon center every week are an interesting crew. They range from five and six to 12 and 13 years old. Each student possesses unique learning tools and each possesses learning hurdles that present challenges. Although each student is different, they seem to, for the most part, share the common goal of wanting to learn. They want to learn and become better students. They want to be better at math or reading or writing or spelling. As a tutor, it’s easy to volunteer every week when I know the student wants to be there. When he or she wants to learn and benefits from what I say and do as a tutor, there is no better feeling. I cannot stress enough how rewarding my time has been with Frontier College.

To sum up my experience with Frontier College and tutoring the learners at the George Dixon, it has been one of the most rewarding undertakings I’ve ever done. I look forward to helping these kids each and every week and I’ll hopefully have a long relationship with Frontier College in the future.”–JC Kaiser, Halifax
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