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HWDSB Building

Focus on Youth

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2019 Update: HWDSB is awaiting information from the Ministry of Education about funding for the Focus On Youth program for the summer of 2019. An announcement is anticipated by mid-April.
If you are an HWDSB student or Community Agency and have questions regarding the program please contact a member of our Community Engagement team. *See contact information below

Program Overview

Every summer since 2008, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board has partnered with not-for-profit groups through the Focus on Youth program to support them in delivering free or low-cost summer programs and activities that keep young people safe and active.

Programs and activities are focused on:Focus on Youth

  • literacy and numeracy
  • sports and recreation
  • culture and the arts
  • leadership development and mentorship
  • programs targeted at meeting the needs of specific populations

Program Objectives

Our goal is to enhance high-quality summer program opportunities for children and youth throughout Hamilton by:

  1. offering free use of school space for organized, community-based programs
  2. improving the quality of life for children and youth in high and moderate needs communities who otherwise would have limited access to organized summer programming
  3. providing employment opportunities for youth in Hamilton with a focus on hiring and supporting the employment experiences of “at-risk” youth
  4. providing leadership training and learning opportunities for youth employed within the program
  5. strengthening collaborative efforts with community partners to build capacity to support children, youth and families in our high and moderate needs school neighbourhoods
  6. providing as many free program opportunities as possible for children and youth in Hamilton

Student Employees:

The application for Focus on Youth student employment is now closed.  If you have questions or concerns regarding an application, please contact us at focusonyouth@hwdsb.on.ca or 905.527.5092, x. 2364.

Student Employee Qualifications:

  • must be 16 to 21 years of age as of June 16, 2018
  • must have been registered in a full-time HWDSB program in 2017-2018
  • interest or talents in one or more of the following areas:
    • sports
    • arts/crafts
    • school community leadership
    • gardening
    • music/drama/dance
    • cultural activities
    • caretaking
    • technology
  • must be able to commit to working on:
    • June 16
    • June 23
    • June 29-August 10 (weekdays, not including Canada Day and the Civic Holiday)
  • 30 to 40 hours per week (varies by site)

Community Agencies:

 The application period for community agency participation is now closed. Focus on Youth supports community agencies through the use of space and/or student employee support. Community agencies will be notified about their approval for participation in Focus on Youth by the end of May and when funding has been confirmed with the Ministry of Education. Focus on Youth 2018 will run for six weeks from July 3 until August 10.

For more information on Focus on Youth 2018:

For more information, please contact a member of the Focus on Youth Administration team (contacts below).

Program Administration

Manager of Communications and Community Engagement: Shawn McKillop

Supervisor of Engagement: Amber Aquin (Acting)

Coordinator: Community Engagement Specialist – Blaze Forgie (Acting)

Program Staff: 1 Student Leadership Development Lead | 4 Project Monitors | 1 Program Assistant (Post-Secondary Student)

Board Collaboration: Support and resources contributed by Accommodation & Planning, Community & Continuing Education, Corporate Communications, E-Best Research, Early Learning & Child Care, Equity, Executive Council, Facilities Management, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Programs & Assessment, Special Education

Note: The Focus on Youth Program runs pending confirmation of funding from the Ministry of Education.

Updated on Monday, March 25, 2019.
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