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From Program Participants

Jinai, Toronto
My time at Frontier College has helped me to better develop my time management skills. All throughout high school, I would procrastinate and leave everything to be done at the very last minute possible. Of course, they meant a lot of stress and many assignments or tests that were not done to my greatest ability. My time with Vicki and the tutors showed me how much better I could've done in school had I learned better time management schools when it counted the most. Better late than never! 
 
I had quite a variety of tutors during my time at Frontier, and each of them was able to teach me something different; something incredibly valuable. Fred taught us how to enter a room; shake everyone's hands, smile, and introduce yourself a million times. Darko taught me how I could apply the math we were learning to my real life. I learned fairly quickly how much my bank had been ripping me off all these years! Ignorance really is bliss. Sometimes I can get frustrated when I don't understand some of the concepts of Math (which is a lot of the time), but all the tutors were very good at keeping my frustration at bay and reminding me that they're there to help us. 
 
  Frontier College has definitely reinforced that I learn much quicker visually than I do just reading a textbook and working through it on my own. I realized very quickly how frustrated with myself I get when I don't understand something, which was a quirk I'd never picked up before in the past. I think I would've done much better in school with more one-on-one. Realistically, school boards don't have the time to do that with each of the hundreds of students they teach, so Frontier College is the perfect place for people who need the one-on-one.
 
I appreciated the time and efforts all the tutors and Vicki put in to make sure we were as successful as we could be. They were able to recognize that we all learn in different ways and at different paces, and they were very accommodating and patient. Vicki always supplied us with food and drinks, which was something I'm sure each and every one of us appreciated.
 
Overall, I'm very grateful for the time I've spent at Frontier College. I learned a lot about Math, but also learned a lot about myself. I will be able to carry all the things I've learned with me for the rest of my life. I hope I impacted the tutors' lives as much as they all impacted mine.”

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Sarah, Toronto
In the Beat the Street Program, I attend  three classes each week and study to take the GED (General Education Development) test. On Tuesdays I attend the group workshop class where I learn to work as a team member and also develop my self-management skills e.g. communication and time management. In addition, I also participate in the creative writing workshop that is for 6 weeks. On Wednesdays, I work independently on my English, in a classroom. The work I do on Wednesdays, I focus on upgrading my writing and reading skills so that I’m well prepared for the GED exam. On Thursdays, I attend the math class, focusing on upgrading my basic math skills. 
 
In this program I like that each student works independently. This means that each student works at their own pace and follows their learning plan to meet their own needs.
 
Being a part of Beat the Street has certainly changed my plans for the future.  I now have a path.  I’m scheduled to write the GED exam in November 2017. Once I attain my GED, I would like to attend a community college.  I’m interested in getting into the aviation technology program.
 
I like to read, both fiction and non fiction. I’m an avid reader.
 
Rosita Bacchus was the first person I met.  She told me about the program and I signed up for the program. She assessed me and developed a personalized learning plan for me. Later she would greatly help me apply to take the GED exam. Eddie Wong is my teacher and also advised me about my future. They are both very helpful.
 
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Kevin, Yukon
I came to Canada in June 2006. It was summer, but it was cold for me. Everything was stranger than my country. I did not know much English, so it was hard to communicate with the people. I got a part-time job at the Yukon News, 3 days after I arrived in Whitehorse. I needed transportation. A Canadian lady was selling a bicycle for 30$. When I told her I just arrived in Canada and just got a job, she gave me the bike. She didn’t want me to pay for it. I was very emotional; it was so kind of her. The first day I went to work I was very nervous because I did not know if my co-workers would welcome me or not. I did not speak much English, and I didn’t have any experience doing that job. But they were helpful and friendly. They trained me to meet the quota of 600 papers a day. Ten days later I got a second job. This was a full time job at MacDonald’s. I was more confident with this job. I was a cook and I cleaned the grills after they closed. I rode my bike home and enjoyed the cold windy Yukon at midnight.
 
In September I got a third job, another part time job at the Coast High Country Inn. My coworkers said that it was one of the biggest hotels in town and most people who work for the government went there to enjoy the food and have a few drinks after their shift. They told me it was a safe place to work.
 
I wanted to go to English classes, but my income was not enough to pay the bills, so I thought I would go school later when I had a better job and a better salary.

December was the first winter I lived in Canada. It was cold. So cold for me. I heard the people say that winter is very cold, but I had never thought it could be cold like that. I wore 4 jackets at a time and I was still cold. I couldn’t ride my bike to work anymore. I had to take the bus to work and take a taxi home because the busses stopped running before I finished. In my country I was told if you are late to work 3 times in Canada you will get fired. So I was always scared I would be late for work. It was hard going from job to job each day. They were far apart and I didn’t have much time. One day the bus drove right past me. I was scared I would be late, so I went back home, got my bike and pedaled very fast. Too fast. I turned left. The road was slippery. I crashed. Me and the bike rolled over a couple of times. When I got up I saw the chain had come off. What to do? I was scared I would be late. I just picked up my bike and ran the rest of the way carrying it. When I got to work I threw it down in the parking lot and ran inside. I was so cold. Everything was cold, my ears, my nose, my head, my hands, my feet, everything. It took me a long time to get warm. My hands were frozen. My ears were frozen. Everything was frozen. But I made it on time!
 
I really wanted to go back to my country, but I could not because the ticket cost was too expensive, and I would have to pay rent to keep my room until I got back. In April the weather started to warm up. I knew I needed a driver’s license and a car to drive to work. I didn’t want to wait for the bus in horrible weather. Sometimes it got to 30 or 40 below. It was hard to get to all my jobs.
 
In 2009 I finally got my driver’s licence and an American car. I felt confident in myself to settle down and live in the Yukon. I was still working 3 jobs, but with a car I had more time to sleep and didn’t get so cold going to work.
2011 was a special year. I went back to my country and married a Vietnamese lady. We had a great time together and travelled a little on our honeymoon. By the time I got back to Canada, NVD (the owner company of the hotels) had partnered with Frontier College and introduced the English class for all NVD employees who need to learn English. It was an amazing program because it changed a lot of things for my life. The first day I had my class in the hotel, I met my teacher. She was a Canadian lady. We had a little conversation so she could figure out what I needed to learn. She explained things to me very clearly when I told her didn’t understand. I felt very interested in my English class and I knew that this chance would help me improve my English faster.

In 2012 I had a boy and I applied for them to come to Canada to live together with me. Then I waited for over 2 years, but I didn’t hear anything from CIC. My teacher explained to me that I could go and visit my Member of Parliament, that he, or his staff may be able to help me. She and me went together to Larry Bagnell’s office. His staff took all my information and sent an email to the embassy in Singapore (the office that handles Visa’s for Asian countries). I waited another 2 months and finally they got back to me saying the Singapore office was waiting for the results of the DNA test my family and I had to do. I didn’t understand because we had done the test a year after I submitted my application. The office explained to me that when the Canadian Government had changed, the staff in the Singapore office had also changed and somehow the results of the DNA test had been lost. I asked my teacher for help and she contacted the lab that performed the test and arranged for the results to be resent to the embassy.

Still I waited. During this time I decided to apply for Canadian citizenship. First I passed the language proficiency test (I had to be a level 4) and then my teacher trained me well to help me understand Canadian history and culture.

Finally my family came to Canada, 5 years after I completed and sent the application. I didn’t know enough English to know how to communicate with the government. Many times I wanted to give it up. I wanted to go back to my country to open a small business and just enjoy a simple life. I felt tired. Too much stress and so many things I must figure out. But my teacher kept encouraging me. She told me “Never give up. If you don’t try you won’t make it. Everything will be ok, trust me.”

In 2017 it was Canada’s 150th celebration. I was invited to write the citizenship exam on June 30th. If I passed I would take the Oath of Citizenship on Canada. Day. That morning I passed 18 out of 20 questions. When I got out of the exam room my teacher was waiting for me. She smiled and said “Congratulations!” The next day she was there again and said “Congratulations! You are Canadian now!”
 
So many seasons have come and gone since I first arrived. The time ran so fast. I resolved many problems to settle here to live in Canada. I know I have a lot of things that I will have to go figure out in the future. Thank you so much to all the people who helped me and encouraged me to be stronger. To stand up to walk on the way I have to go. Thank you again.

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Russell, Toronto (Independent Studies)
My name is Russell. I was a part of the Independent Studies Program at Frontier College from September 2008 – June 2015. In my time with the Independent Studies Program I improved my reading, writing, spelling, computer skills and comprehension skills. I gained better communication skills as well. We worked on these skills through themed curriculums such as nutrition and math, budgeting and personal finance, voting, photography, navigating the TTC, reading maps and more. It created a need to always want to learn more. I developed friendships in the people I got to know each week and the ability to trust in others. I am more confident filling out forms now and get less anxious when I have too.  I love to read! I don’t have enough space in my apartment for all my books that I get from Value Village. I enjoy autobiographies and biographies, history, politics, entertainment and photography books. I am not interested in fiction.
 
Over the years I worked one to one with a few volunteer tutors in a small group class who were and continue to be positive people in my life. Each of them brought patience, kindness, determination, knowledge and personality to the session. Each week they encouraged me and made me laugh and made me dream. They had compassion and understanding for my life and the challenges I faced. This in turn offered me peace of mind, the ability to trust and be comfortable with them. It made room for me to focus on learning. I felt safe to learn and make mistakes.
 
I am a different person in part to the Independent Studies Program, Frontier College and the tutors who worked with me.  Frontier College opened doors for me and now I volunteer in Frontier College’s book room – stickering and organizing boxes and boxes of books on shelves and for delivery. The Program has connected me to another tutoring organization to continue with my spelling and comprehension skills.
 
The Independent Studies Program, Frontier College was a very positive and productive experience. Every day I continue to apply the strategies, skills and knowledge I learned then to my day to day life now.
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Melanie's GED and Learner Achievement Award, Toronto
This award is given in conjunction to the Peter Gzowski Invitational Bonspiel for Literacy in Toronto held on January 19. The Learner Achievement Award is supported by the generous donations from Patricia and David Morton.

Melanie Lajambe-Johnson is the recipient of the 2017 Peter Gzowski Invitational Learner Achievement Award. As a young Indigenous woman who dropped out of a high school to become a mother, she had big dreams of finishing school to pursue post-secondary education.

Melanie joined Frontier College’s Beat the Street program in the fall of 2015 looking to attain her GED certificate to continue education in the plumbing or carpentry program at George Brown College. Melanie demonstrated a willingness to try different methods of learning and various opportunities that were presented to her. While in the program, Melanie actively participated in the New Readers Bookstore, Frontier College’s social enterprise. This experience advanced her numeracy and computer skills that she learned in the Literacy and Basic Skills Program.

After one year of intensive work in the program, Melanie wrote and passed the GED exam.

“Without the support and encouragement of Kinda Johnson, the instructor, Rosita Bacchus, the coordinator of the Literacy and Basic Skills program, Laura Milton, the coordinator of the New Readers Bookstore, and the dedicated volunteers, I wouldn’t have succeeded in attaining my goals. Overall, I learned that failing is not really a failure but an opportunity to improve and grow as a person,” says Melanie.

Rosita Bacchus, Melanie Lajambe-Johnson, and Stephen Faul
 
Janet Trail, mother of Ryan, Gr. 11 student with multiple learning and developmental challenges
“I will sound like a broken record… but you and your organization are integral to my son’s success. The saying is that it takes a village to raise a child…and that couldn’t be more evident than with Ryan. With the tutoring you provide for him, and the school’s involvement in picking courses and teachers who will best benefit Ryan and keep him engaged in school, to the money that your service frees up for our family to get counselling for him, will hopefully set the stage for a life with skills, education, and the knowledge that people are willing to help if you want it. The tutor you found for Ryan is perfect. Intesar is absolutely the best… kind, nurturing, experienced; she knows just how to keep Ryan motivated. She even visited his math teacher at parent-teacher interviews…I’m telling you, she is an angel! Thank you, we are all doing all we can for Ryan; he is going to be the best he can be.”
Holly Roy, mother of Izaiah, Gr. 7 student, Fredericton, NB
“Izaiah had Curtis for a tutor this year. He looked forward to his extra help sessions every Monday night. With this year wrapping up, Izaiah has seen a boost in his math grades, his spelling, and homework marks. He knows how to work out problems now, and with a new-found confidence. Thank you so much to our tutor, Curtis, and to Frontier College.”
6 year old girl, Fredericton, NB
“I like reading my book with the Homework Club tutors. They listen to me.”
Quentya, Halifax, NS
“I feel respected here. Homework club helps me to read better. I trust the tutors and I would ask anyone if I needed to.”
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Did You Know ?

In 1920, Jessie Lucas became secretary-treasurer of Frontier College and remained in that position for 43 years. Along with a handful of female Labourer-Teachers, Ms. Lucas was one of the first women hired at the College.

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