Students get kick out of volunteering, tutoring children, youth and adults
December 05, 2011
A new partnership between Ryerson and Frontier College has given students an opportunity to help their neighbours.
Frontier College is a national organization that helps thousands of children, youth and adults who live in under-resourced communities across Canada to improve their literacy skills. Through the partnership, 14 Ryerson students volunteer two hours a week tutoring youth in the GTA. They choose between five inner-city schools and four tutoring programs, including the Newcomer’s After School Learning program, Kiwanis Junior Journalism program, Hammerheads and the Kiwanis Learning Rocks program.
The Newcomer’s program helps students who are immigrants complete homework assignments, understand class work, study for tests and improve English language skills. Junior Journalism allows young people to test their skills as journalists by writing articles and publishing their own newsletter. The Learning Rocks program helps children and high school students improve their reading, writing and thinking skills.
Volunteer Harleen Bhogal, a third-year student from the School of Social Work, participates in the Hammerheads program.
“The program is for youth and adults who are looking for help to pass the General Educational Development exam or successfully attain a high school diploma, in hopes of getting apprenticeships or direct employment opportunities, mainly in skilled trades. I am tutoring English and it is lots of fun,” Bhogal said.
While Bhogal can’t comment on everyone’s progress, she says her own student has been improving his reading skills each week.
Sandra Huehn, community coordinator at Frontier College, is impressed with the outcome of the new partnership.
“Ryerson volunteers have shown themselves to be not only competent and knowledgeable tutors but are also extremely positive role models,” Huehn said. “We look forward to strengthening and developing our new partnership with Ryerson University in the years to come.”
Bhogal organized the Frontier College partnership with fellow students Mashal Farid, second-year, biomedical engineering, and Annalise Huynh, second-year, politics and governance. The trio are part of the President’s Circle of Scholars, a group of scholarship recipients, who started the initiative to become more involved in the local community, with a focus on literacy. The students recruited tutors at Ryerson who could commit to Frontier College’s programs. As part of this new partnership, the volunteers have become part of Ryerson Urban Outreach (RUO), a group of students who volunteer for local charitable projects.
“I thought this would be a great way to get involved at Ryerson, and take a leadership role in organizing a brand new initiative. I was very excited about partnering with Frontier College, and as I learned about their various programs and how much they do for those who require help with literacy, I felt that volunteering my own time would be the most rewarding part of leading this initiative,” Bhogal said.
Students wanting to get involved can visit www.facebook.com/groups/143527349085283/?notif_t=group_added_to_group.