Cross-country electronic stories

Frontier College, Canada’s original literacy organization, celebrates its 100th anniversary this week. To mark the occasion, Frontier College volunteers and students will collaborate on an electronic, cross-Canada story starting in Newfoundland and concluding in Victoria. Rallies are planned at most Canadian universities, featuring readings and book and information drives.

Founded in 1899 by a group of students at Queen’s University, Frontier College’s mission was to live, work and teach in isolated "frontier" settlements. Today, Frontier College works to recruit and train volunteer teachers in what they call "new frontiers" — inner city schools and streets, public housing sites, farms, prisons and reserves. Each year, more than 6,000 volunteers work for literacy through Frontier College, using one-to-one and small group tutoring to teach children, teens and adults.

"For 100 years, Frontier College teachers have led the fight for literacy in every part of Canada. We are building on this tradition as we prepare for our second century of service," says Frontier president John O’Leary. "Today, we are calling upon all Canadians to join with uin fighting poverty and injustice through the power of knowledge and learning. We don’t need more analysis, more studies or more meetings — we need more action for literacy. We like to say, "Don’t just stand there, teach someone!"

The College’s centennial is also being marked by the issuing of a new stamp by Canada Post, unveiled Friday at the University of Toronto.

"While Canada has an enviable rate of literacy overall, there are still too many people who fall through the cracks," said Tony Ianno, the local MP representing the Minister Responsible for Canada Post at the official unveiling ceremony. "Frontier College is one of the organizations doing everything it can to help those people."