United for Literacy is a non-profit organization that aims to improve literacy skills and access to support for people and communities. We had the chance to speak with Bree Canton, BC Community Coordinator, to find out more about what they do.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
United for Literacy (formerly Frontier College), founded in 1899, is Canada’s oldest charitable literacy organization. We believe that literacy is a right for all and that every place is a learning place. Our vision is a Canada where everyone has the literacy skills they need to achieve their goals at work, school, and in life. We provide community-based learning support through partnerships with communities, local organizations, and volunteers across the country. Programs we support in the Lower Mainland include Highschool and Elementary Homework Clubs, English Conversation Circles, Digital Literacy, 1-on-1 Tutoring and more!
What problem does it aim to solve?
United for Literacy aims to improve literacy skills and access to support for people and communities. We aim to remove barriers for folks who are looking to gain the skills they need to better navigate their lives.
When did you start/join it?
I joined the organization as Program Support in December of 2021 and have recently moved into the position of Community Coordinator.
What made you want to get involved?
I really admire the collaborative, community-based approach that United for Literacy takes in partnerships. The belief that literacy is a right and that by improving literacy, we can improve an individual’s overall well-being is something that I strongly believe in. As an organization, United for Literacy works to reduce barriers for folks looking to improve their skills and I love seeing all of the creative and innovative ways this is done to reach learners where they’re at.
What was the situation like when you started?
I began amidst the COVID pandemic when so much work was taking place online and the organization was called Frontier College. At that time, it was amazing to see how as an organization, everyone worked so hard to shift and find ways they could still reach learners and provide literacy and learning support and resources even if it couldn’t happen in person.
How has it changed since?
We are now United for Literacy; starting an exciting new chapter with a name that truly represents what we stand for as an organization and reflects the work we do! (You can learn more about this change and who we are here). Most of our programs have returned to in-person delivery at this point and it is so fantastic to be able to connect with learners and the greater community face-to-face again. We are also looking to further broaden and deepen our connections and involvement with adult learning programs; if you know of any organizations or communities looking for support and collaboration in adult education, please connect with us!
What more needs to be done?
Spread the word that literacy changes lives and learning can take place anywhere! Continue to meet learners where they’re at and approach learning in culturally relevant ways. Get involved in being part of someone else’s learning journey.
How can our readers help?
Connect with us! Become a volunteer tutor so you can support learners in your community on their educational journey. You don’t have to have tutoring experience or be an expert; all you need is a passion for learning and dedication to the learning process. Donate! Your generosity helps to provide literacy and learning resources and activities to children, youth, and adults.
Do you have any events coming up?
You can follow us on social media for any events we have throughout the year! We are always looking for volunteers to join us and become tutors in the community. Visit our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering.
Where can we follow you?
Website | National Facebook | National Instagram | BC Facebook
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Purpose Society. They are an amazing social-service agency providing numerous social, health and educational programs to communities throughout the Lower Mainland. From family development programs to early childhood programs, an alternative secondary school and more, Purpose impacts so many lives in so many ways.