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Literacy Programs in Toronto, Ontario

Frontier College is Canada's original literacy organization. In Toronto, we recruit volunteers to work with learners in the literacy programs described below. We screen and train all of our volunteers before they go into the community. For more information or to volunteer with Frontier College in Toronto, please call 416-923-3591 or email jhuffa@frontiercollege.ca.

Homework Clubs/After-School Learning Programs

The North York Women's Shelter runs a Reading Circle and Homework Club program two evenings a week with Frontier College volunteers. They work with children and women who are escaping violent situations and are temporarily housed at the shelter.

The San Romanoway After-School Program is located at the San Romanoway Revitalization Association. Through the After-School Program, children have an opportunity to learn and study their homework in a safe and supervised environment.

The Elia Middle School program helps children and youth from grades 6 8, with their homework, reading and study skills. Frontier College volunteers also help students develop the tools necessary to prepare to transition into high school. This program is run in partnership with the San Romanoway Revitalization Association.

Frontier College volunteers help at Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services after-school program held at Tumpane Public School. Tutors assist children between the ages of 6 and 13 with reading or completing homework. Some tutors also support the children who are part of Tumpane's French Immersion program.

The after-school program at Gardenview Co-op in Scarborough is for children who reside in the co-operative housing building. This community has few resources and no funding for a children's program. Frontier College volunteers have created a literacy-based curriculum that includes homework help, writing activities and fun literacy games.

The Newcomer Homework Club program helps children and youth in elementary school, from grades 3 – 8, with their homework, reading, and study skills. The program is run in partnership with the Regent Park Community Health Centre and has the strong support of the Somali and African community living in Regent Park.

Frontier College runs Junior Journalists, an after-school program for children living in the Regent Park community, which is located near the intersection of Parliament and Gerrard Streets. In addition to helping children (grades 1 to 5) with homework, Frontier College tutors help children write and edit stories and other submissions for inclusion in a newsletter published by the group. Frontier College partners with the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Clubs to run this program.

The Manulife Financial Homework Club and Tutoring programs are unique workplace-based programs for elementary school children from nearby schools. During tutoring hours, homework support and literacy skills are provided by Manulife employees who volunteer their time as tutors. The employees are trained by Frontier College and both partnerships have a dedicated team of volunteers that help coordinate the site. Partnerships are set up with local schools where grades 7 & 8 students commit one year to attending the program. Programming takes place once a week with students attending one of two participating Manulife offices in downtown Toronto.

The Neptune Homework Club offers a homework club for children ages 7 12. This homework club is a partnership between Frontier College and the Baycrest Public School. Community volunteers recruited and trained by Frontier College provide students with tutoring and mentorship on a weekly basis. Students are engaged through educational group activities, computer activities, reading, writing, and homework help. Volunteer tutors mentor students by modelling positive social skills, helping them with problem solving, and by encouraging leadership and responsibility.

The After-School program at Military Trail Public School near the University of Toronto Scarborough campus provides homework support and learning enrichment activities to a group of children in grades four to six. The majority of students at the school are from lower-income families born outside of Canada.

Located in the Sonny Atkinson Co-op near Spadina and Dundas, the Alexandra Park After-School Learning Program provides homework help and other learning enrichment activities for elementary and high school age children, many from newcomer families. The program runs out of the Alexandra Park Community Centre one day a week as part of their after-school programming for children and youth.

In partnership with the Malvern Family Resource Centre, Frontier College runs an after-school homework help and learning program for elementary school children at the Alexander Stirling Public School near Morningside and Finch. Volunteers are from the U of T Scarborough campus.

Pre-School Learning Programs

Frontier College works with the Alexandra Park Community Centre to provide an early literacy program for pre-school children from newcomer families where English is not spoken at home. Tutors help the children with reading, phonics, basic numeracy and other early literacy skills.

Shelter Programs

Dr. Roz's Healing Place is a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Programs run two evenings a week and volunteers are involved with helping the kids, who range in age from 5 – 17, with homework and learning support.

Julliette's Place (Homeward Family Shelter) is a community-based agency that provides safe refuge for abused women and their children. Volunteers work with children from pre-school to high school, helping build reading skills, and providing homework help and ongoing literacy support.

The North York Women's Shelter is a shelter for children and women who are escaping violent situations. Volunteers work with children from pre-school to high school, helping build reading skills, and providing homework help and ongoing literacy support.

In-Class Tutoring with Children and Youth

Military Trail Public School (TDSB) has close to 500 students from JK –grade 8, from very diverse backgrounds. The in-class program places tutors in classrooms to assist students who need extra learning support, as directed by the teacher. Tutors often stay for more than one period, giving them more time to get to know and support the children.

Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute offers students from grades 9 –OAC extensive courses in academic, performing arts, production arts, visual arts and technology. Frontier College tutors provide one-to-one or in-class support with homework, reading and general literacy skills for students in the Special Education program.

Heydon Park Secondary School is the only secondary school for girls in Toronto, serving girls and young women from all over the city who have not been able to succeed in the regular school system.  The school provides a highly supportive, small class learning environment for the students. The tutoring program provides in-class literacy and learning support for students to help them keep up with their school work.

English as a Second Language (ESL) for New Canadians

The Families Learning Together program in Scarborough offers one-to-one or small group tutoring for adult newcomers to Canada, as well as a learning program for their school-age children. While the adults are engaged with their tutors, the children work on developing their reading and writing skills, receive help with homework, and participate in various interactive learning games with a group of volunteer tutors. This arrangement allows families to participate in the learning program together without the need for arranging childcare.

The Newcomer Adult ESL Program in Regent Park is an off-shoot of the Homework Club program. Most of the learners are parents of the children in the program, primarily Somali, East African and South Asian women who have had limited opportunity to study English in Canada and may have had limited schooling in their home countries. Tutors and learners focus on essential English reading, writing and communication skills, as well as job search and citizenship.

The Adult ESL Program at the Alexandra Park Community Centre assists parents and grandparents of pre-school children who are participating in the Early Years program at the centre. Learners range from basic beginner to intermediate level. Tutors work one-to-one or with small groups of learners, assisting them with essential English communication skills, including vocabulary, pronunciation and speaking.

Independent Studies

Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) is an Employment Ontario program funded by the Ontario government for adults who are 19 and over. The Independent Studies Program, funded in part by Employment Ontario, is a community-based adult literacy program offered in several Toronto locations that provides learning opportunities to people with disabilities. The program helps students work towards greater self-confidence and personal independence so that they can take part in or move on to other educational, employment or life opportunities. Most of the learners live with some form of cognitive or developmental disability, so the program is not suitable for students with diagnosed or suspected learning disabilities.

We look for volunteers who enjoy the challenges and rewards of working with adults who may have different ways of learning and defining progress. There are no "special techniques" or "expert methods" for working with people with developmental disabilities. We assist real people to develop realistic skills that help them live in the real world. The role of the tutor is to facilitate learning through encouragement, guidance and support to achieve meaningful learning goals set with a student.

Learners work on learning outcomes such as reading, writing, math and basic computer skills in a creative project-based way. These learning outcomes also include interpersonal skills, life skills, learning how to learn skills, improving confidence, self-esteem, and practical living skills.

Beat the Street

Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) is an Employment Ontario program funded by the Ontario government for adults who are 18 and over. LBS helps students improve reading, writing, math and digital technology skills so that they can find and keep employment or secure an apprenticeship by having the literacy foundation needed to complete Secondary school or high school equivalent. Other successful outcomes include, moving into post-secondary school through college and university transition programs or simply developing skills that contribute to their independence and develop a greater sense of confidence and self-esteem. 

Frontier College offers programs for youth at several Toronto locations. The Beat the Street services include literacy upgrading, a GED preparation course and computer skills training. The program includes literacy and basic skills training, a GED preparation course, and computer skills training. Participants can focus on one or two areas or can move through all three.

Beat the Street/Literacy and Basic Skills
Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) is an Employment Ontario program funded by the Ontario government. LBS helps students improve reading, writing, math and digital technology skills so that they can find and keep employment or secure an apprenticeship by having the literacy foundation needed to complete secondary school or high school equivalent. Other successful outcomes include moving into post-secondary school through college and university transition programs, or simply developing skills that contribute to their independence and a greater sense of confidence and self-esteem.

Beat the Street/GED Preparation Course
This course prepares students to pass the GED exams at the Independent Learning Centre and receive the Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate issued by the Ministry of Education. Completing the GED exam opens doors to employment and helps students qualify for apprenticeships.

Beat the Street/Computer Skills Training
The computer skills training program offers a flexible way for students to gain valuable computer skills. They learn Microsoft Office using the latest interactive, computer-based training program. Students can also receive certification as a Microsoft Office Specialist in our authorized testing centre. This is the only comprehensive certification program designed to validate desktop computer skills using Microsoft Office programs.

Skilled Trades Academic Upgrading
In partnership with the skilled trade unions, Frontier College provides participants with a range of essential skills and comprehensive academic upgrading courses to help them meet the entrance apprenticeship requirements. Participants are enrolled in a multi-week intensive program comprised of correspondence courses accredited by the Independent Learning Centre (ILC). With support from Frontier College tutors and program staff, participants acquire the academic and essential literacy skills necessary to help them enter the workforce.

For more information or to volunteer with Frontier College in Toronto, please call 416-923-3591 or email jhuffa@frontiercollege.ca.

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