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VAST Program 

The VAST Program (Volunteers Assisting Students and Teachers) is an opportunity for Ryerson Faculty of Arts students to play a positive role in the community and gain valuable experience working with children. In partnership with local elementary schools Ryerson students serve as classroom assistants with students from JK to Grade 8. The schools are looking for Ryerson students who are committed, confident, competent and caring.

What will I do?

Typically VAST volunteers work with students in the classroom that need extra support. They may be struggling academically or simply need more attention than the teacher is able to give. You may spend your time reading with a student, helping with an assignment, leading an activity with a small group or helping the teacher gather materials to prepare a lesson.

Where are the schools?

Lord Dufferin and Nelson Mandela Park are a 20 min walk to the East of Ryerson in Regent Park. 

When would I go?

A minimum of one morning (8:55 – 11:40 a.m.) or afternoon (12:35 – 3:15 p.m.) a week for a semester is required. The day and time depend on your schedule.

Who is eligible?

You must be an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Arts and have already completed the first semester of your program to participate.

What is a Police Reference Check (Vulnerable Sector Screening)? 

In order to participate in the VAST Program, you will need a Police Reference Check + vulnerable sector search (PRC-VSS) clearance. The PRC-VSS is standard for those volunteering to work with children or youth. The paperwork can take up to 4 months, which is why we require applications the semester before placement. You’ll receive the PRC-VSS paperwork when you apply.

To Apply Contact Jill Careless, Experiential Learning Coordinator at

"What brings me back week after week is knowing that my
weekly commitment has an impact on the students in my classroom."

– VAST Volunteer

"A student that is struggling risks falling behind. The further they fall behind, the wider the gap between them and their peers. The VAST volunteers in my classroom help those students catch up. Closing what may just seem like a small gap makes a big difference over the long run."
– Daphne Tran, Teacher,
Regent Park/Duke of York Public School