Students help youths Beat the Street

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By John Qubti

Stephanie Angelone works three jobs but gets the most out of the one that pays her nothing.

The third-year Ryerson business student works as a waitress and bartender, but her passion is working with underprivileged kids.

The 21-year-old is one of 23 Ryerson students spending one hour a week tutoring 6-to-14-year-olds in a program sponsored by Frontier College called Beat the Street.

“I love it,” she says, “and one hour a week really doesn’t make a difference in my schedule.”

But volunteers and staff think it makes a difference to those being taught.

Ellen Richardson, a program director at the college, remembers one homeless woman who came to learn photography.

After studying with a professional photographer for months, she used her skills to record the life of a homeless person. The pictures were picked up by many community agencies across Canada, and the woman now lives on her own and is studying photography.

Founded in 1889, Frontier College was originally set up to educate workers in labour camps across Canada. More recently, it developed programs such as Beat the Street to deal with the needs of people living in the city.

Alex Cosford, 31, is a Ryerson social work graduate and the Frontier College liaison at the university.

Cosford said the Ryerson community needs volunteers and it’s her job to get them. She has been talking to classes this year and putting up posters around campus for training sessions to be held in December.

“Bridging a gap to the community is essential,” she said. “There are many people in shelters around Ryerson wanting to learn.”

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