Alternative Reading Week

Alternative Reading Week. Two students working on a project.

Alternative Reading Week (ARW) is an opportunity that gives students a chance to learn more about, and to understand the local issues within the Region of Peel. ARW is designed to enhance students' experiences with community engagement, leadership, social change and community development. Furthermore, this is an opportunity for students and community groups to both benefit from a partnership. 

Sign up now for Alternative Reading Week! 

1. Register here to hold a spot in Alternative Reading Week!

2. Complete the mandatory volunteer training modules in Quercus. 

3. Registration for specific projects will open at noon on Monday Febuary 3rd. You will recieve an e-mail to sign up for a project. Please note that you may only sign up for one project and that spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

4. Participate in Alternative Reading Week from February 18th-20th from 9am-4:30pm* (must be available to participate in all three days of ARW)

5. Complete the online reflection survey sent after the experience and add Alternative Reading Week to your Co-Curricular Record (CCR)!

Check out the projects from last year...

The DAM Youth Drop-In Centre

Location: Off-Campus 

The project: Help with event preparations for the Coldest Night of the Year on February 24th. Plan an activity for the youth during a drop-in (e.g. minute to win it games, or maybe a large group game). Help organize some of centre.       


City of Mississauga (South Common Community Centre) 

Location: On-Campus 

The project: Students will work with staff from the centre to develop either a fitness/sport event or something trivia based for youth in the community.  


Caledon Dufferin Victim Services (Research)

Location: On-Campus 

The project: While research indicates that between 5-7% of older adults are victims of frauds and scams the prevalence is likely under estimated given the limited amount of data on the subject and the victim's reluctant to report.  As the population ages, the problem will continue to grow.  At CDVs we are aware that education is an important part of prevention.  The challenge is to reach the greatest number of individuals in and efficient and cost-effective manner. Victim Services would like you to research and report on the most prevalent frauds and scams targeting older adults.  We would also like you to provide us with the most effective method of reaching this population to inform and educate keeping in mind that many live in rural and isolated areas. 


Caledon Dufferin Victim Services (Generations)

Location: On-Campus 

The project: Effectively relay information to different generations including:  GenZ, iGen or Centennials born 1996 or later; millennials or Gen Y born 1977 to 1995, Gen X born 1965-1976; baby boomers born 1946-1964 and traditionalists or silent gen born 1945 or earlier.  Report on each generation preferred method of communication/receiving information.  Report on the best ways to reach, educate and inform each population with a focus on those living in rural or isolated areas. 


Eden Food for Change (Café)

Location: On and off campus 

The project: We would like to start a small 'café' for our food bank members at our Unity Drive location.  This cafe would be open to our food bank members a few hours before a couple of our food bank shifts, and during the shifts as well.  It would provide snacks to our food bank members at no cost and would provide a community space in which people could gather, socialize and build community relationships.  We believe that there are various government regulations that we would have to meet in order to have this type of service (e.g. health and safety regulations, food handling regulations, rules involving the number of washrooms and sinks required and their proximity to the cafe location etc.), but we do not have the time or capacity to research all of this information.  We would love to have a group that would research this for us and let us know all that would be required to make this dream of a food bank member cafe a reality for us.  


Eden Food for Change (Fresh Food Delivery)

Location: On and off campus 

The project: We operate a Fresh Produce Box program, the goal of which is to get more fresh fruit and vegetables into the homes of families in Mississauga at a lower cost than one would pay in the grocery store.  This program is open to anyone in Mississauga.  Food bank members receive the box at a reduced cost, and a portion of the cost for all other purchasers is a direct donation to our food bank.  While we have many loyal customers of this program, we really want to increase our number of customers.  We would love to have a group create a low-cost marketing/promotional plan for this program. 


Halton-Peel Community Aphasia Programs (Awareness Video)

Location: On and off campus 

The project: Create an aphasia awareness and advocacy video as well as a social media plan to implement release of the video.  


Halton-Peel Community Aphasia Programs (Community Resources)

Location: On and off campus 

The project: Creating aphasia-friendly resources for use in the community (for restaurants, stores, etc.) as well as other aphasia friendly materials (communication aids, books etc.) 

Max’s Big Ride 

Location: On-campus 

The project: Max’s Big Ride is a 600 km father and son bicycle ride with a purpose – to help find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Over the past 4 years Max’s Big Ride has raised close to $200,000 towards a cure and are currently funding exciting research right here at UTM in the Gunning Lab.

This project will work on identifying and approaching potential major donors and foundations on behalf of Max’s Big Ride using subscription-based software. Securing even one major donor for Max’s Big Ride would be a major accomplishment for Max’s Big Ride and help them donate even more money to the Gunning lab. This project would be of particular interest to those with an interest in fundraising and/or professional writing.


Let’s Get Together (Online Toolkit)

Location: On-campus 

The project: Based on the group's past experience, we would like to create an affordable, easy to understand and use online tool kit of 5 interactive resources that help elementary age children learn about the importance of self-care, self-confidence, self-esteem and self-advocacy using the True North Friends characters and growth mindset as the framework.  This includes information for adults too (parents & educators)      


Let’s Get Together (Vlogs)

Location: On-campus 

The project: Develop a series of 60 - 90 second vlog's designed to provide parents insight, encouragement and tips on how to navigate some of the challenges they face around their child's education.  These vlog's will be based on the group's past experience.   Topics can include:  Time management, encouraging volunteerism, encouraging civic-engagement (community work), how to set goals together, digital citizenship, stress management, importance of team work, importance of learning & higher education, defining leadership, etc.  If the group would like, they can also create one designed for youth on the same topic. 


Peel HIV/AIDS Network (Stigma)

Location: On and off campus 

The project: The HIV/AIDS Sector is changing due to much learning from research and innovative community engagement. One such development over the last few years is the U=U scientific evidence ( that is helping to counter stigma and discrimination experienced by folks living with HIV/AIDS. Given the multicultural demographics of Peel region, we hope to develop and implement an engaging community campaign to engage with folks living in Peel around U=U, HIV/AIDS and Stigma.               


Peel HIV/AIDS Network (Aging Populations)

Location: On and off campus 

The project: As our populations continue to age, our priority populations continue to age as well. We look forward to engaging with older adults and seniors that identify with our priority populations (Black Canadians, newcomers, 2SLGBTQ+ folks, folks living with HIV/AIDS etc.). In order to meet their needs and continue to build their optimum health, we need to engage with these aging communities to determine their health and access to healthcare priorities in a participatory manner. We would like to create a plan of action to bring folks together in order to highlight their needs in the community. 


Safe City Mississauga 

Location On-campus 

The project: Creating templates for a volunteer certificate of recognition program including list of ideas that things people could be recognized for: (ie. Arriving Early, Always coming prepared, a great attitude, showing compassion, demonstrating patience) This program should be given to all Aspire supervisors for things to look out for in order to adequately recognize our amazing volunteers. Developing ideas for engaging and creative projects or games to work on with our younger students in the Aspire program. 

St. Rose of Lima School 

Location: On and off campus 

The project: Working with ARW candidates to prepare a day for grade 6, 7,8 in the STEM areas. 

This experience is approved on the Co-Curricular Record (CCR)! Links to the ccr website.


For all questions and feedback regarding Alternative Reading Week, please contact:

Michelle Atkinson
Community Engagement Coordinator

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