Frontier College

About the organization

Frontier College is a national non-profit literacy organization that has been working with kids, teens, and adults for over 100 years. We connect with diverse communities and respond to specific learning needs and gifts, in order to develop and deliver inclusive and literacy-based activities for all learners. We work in partnership with schools and community-based programs in multiple locations around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Through tutor recruitment, training, and placement we support individuals and communities in reaching their literacy and learning goals. We believe that literacy is a right. Read more about Frontier College.

What you'll do

  • Work with vulnerable populations in a respectful manner.

  • Choose to work one-on-one, or in group settings, with kids, teens, or adults, in one of our 20+ partner programs in and around Vancouver.

  • Spend 2-4 hours per week with the program partner and learners, assisting the program lead in planning and delivering the session activities, and working with learners on their homework assignments, other reading and writing activities, and various life skill tasks (such as prepping for a driving test, learning to budget or fill out government forms, etc.).

  • Help create and deliver activities that are innovative in their approach to literacy and learning, as we look to have an interwoven focus on social engagement and personal growth through compassion, empathy, and respect. Many of the learners are new immigrants, refugees, and/or are struggling with social challenges.

  • Most importantly, you will be committed to supporting someone in reaching their learning goals in a way that works for them.

What you’ll get out of this experience

  • Receive experience working with marginalized communities in alternative learning settings, which can present unique challenges and rewards. You will not only build a relationship with program learners, but also with our community partners. 

  • Receive training focused on student-centered individualized learning and anti-oppression, as well as ongoing support from staff, and engagement with your fellow tutors. You will also have access to our online Member Centre resource database, which is full of tutor resources—and gives you an opportunity to share ideas with Frontier College volunteers across Canada. 

  • We may provide a reference after 6 months of volunteering, and you can also be added to our email list to receive updates on employment postings. We hire four interns every year (two in the summer and two during the school year), who have often worked as volunteer tutors in the past.

Requirements

  • Submit a written application which will be emailed to you after you have been accepted into the Trek Program 

  • Attend a brief interview (held between October 2nd and October 12th

  • Complete a short online orientation and submit a criminal record check

  • Attend a full-day group training session (either Saturday, October 14th, or Saturday October 21st)

  • Submit hours and feedback once per semester

  • You may also choose to attend potlucks and workshops throughout the school year

Qualifications

  • Interest in creating and/or delivering activities that bring a unique and engaging approach to learning

  • A proactive, respectful, and flexible attitude is important when working as a tutor, as every session can be different;

  • Volunteers must be committed to their role as tutors, have a desire to work with people, and a respect for diversity of backgrounds and learning styles.

Programs and scheduling

We have 20+ partner programs all around the Lower Mainland, including Central, East, and South Vancouver, Richmond, and South Burnaby. Listed below are some examples of the programs you may choose from. We will find the right placement for you together during your interview, based on your strengths, interests, and schedule.

Children

  • Discovery Clubs is an after school learning club run by Frontier College. For the past 10 years this has been done in partnership with Morley Elementary School in South Burnaby, and for the past three years it has also been done in partnership with Brighouse Elementary School in Richmond. The Discovery Clubs Coordinator works with tutors to plan and facilitate fun and inclusive learning activities. There is an emphasis on alternative learning styles and social connectivity. Many of the learners are new immigrants or refugees, and most are struggling with social and emotional challenges. A typical day in the Discovery Clubs program involves snacks, a welcome circle, homework help, and active learning games that build friendships and self-esteem. (Morley Elementary School, South Burnaby; Brighouse Elementary School, Richmond)

Teens

  • The Britannia Homework Club is a homework support program for inner city students in grades eight to twelve who seek help in core subject and life skills.  Volunteers in this program should be patient, willing to lead in conversation and learner motivation. Volunteers are matched to work one-on-one or in a small group with learners based on the subjects that they feel most comfortable tutoring. (Britannia Secondary School, East Vancouver) 

Adults

  • Canucks Family Education Centre (CFEC). The CFEC program is a family literacy program that aims to get parents involved in their child’s learning and educational development through classroom assistance. Frontier College provides tutors to assist adult learners with a variety of school subjects through small group tutoring and to provide educational support and encouragement in an effort to improve literacy skills (Britannia Secondary School, East Vancouver; Edmonds School, South Burnaby)