Youth and Employment Program Descriptions

Provincial Youth Outreach Worker (YOW) Program


The purpose of the Provincial Youth Outreach Worker (YOW) program is to help marginalized and at-risk youth (12-25) and families better navigate and connect with services and pro social opportunities in their communities to improve youth outcomes. The Provincial YOW program in Hamilton and Brantford is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services (MCCSS) and led by Wesley. The Hamilton YOW team works in partnership with Good Shepherd and the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre. The program focuses on at-risk youth who live in an identified priority communities and/or belong to a distinct priority population (e.g. Syrian specific). These youth may experience increased barriers in accessing the opportunities that can help them to develop their capacity to make healthy life choices and achieve their goals

Based on a positive youth development model, YOWs build relationships with youth and their families to:

  1. Help youth and their families to identify and articulate their needs;
  2. Use an evidence-based process to support youth to make positive changes in their lives;
  3. Raise awareness of, and facilitate access to, locally available prevention and intervention resources through information-sharing and referrals that respond to individual needs and risk factors and reinforce strengths; and Foster communication and linkages among community agencies / organizations (e.g. health care providers, employment services, schools) to improve access and reduce barriers to services and supports.



Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program (UAHLP)

Goal of the Program

The Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program (UAHLP) is designed to increase participation in sport, physical fitness and to provide nutrition and smoking prevention/cessation support for healthier living amongst urban Aboriginal people.
The Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program offers benefits for the community as a whole; whilst focusing on four key target groups for specialized programming:


The objective is to work towards achieving the following desired health outcomes:

  • Increased healthy eating habits, including increased knowledge of healthy nutrition, healthy eating practices, traditional diets and activities, healthy weights and weight management;
  • Increased physical activity levels of community members through participation in organized sport activities, physical fitness activities and physical recreational activities;
  • Increased healthier lifestyles choices, including reduced use of commercial and personal spaces; and
  • Increased numbers of youth who are engaged and participating in leadership programming and positive community activities.

General Description: The intent of the UAHLP is to improve the health and well-being of the Urban Aboriginal people, before they develop health issues, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. This program is taking major strides to help community members to increase their physical activity levels and their cardio-vascular health; to become smoke-free; to increase their knowledge of nutrition, healthy eating practices and weight management; and, to enhance the leadership ability of our youth

The UAHLP provides, at minimum, the following programs components:

  • nutrition
  • sports activities;
  • physical fitness activities;
  • physical recreation activities;
  • smoking cessation/smoke-free living, and
  • Youth leadership.

Wasa-Nabin Youth Program

Wasa-Nabin comes from the Ojibway, meaning “to look ahead”.
The Wasa-Nabin Youth Program is an Indigenous youth program that provides youth ages 13-18 with an opportunity to steer their own plan of action with the guidance of the Wasa Nabin worker. One-to-one is essential to learn about traditional cultural teachings to help the youth envision themselves walking the Red Road. It is at that point in time their action plan will be initiated until successful. Programming is also available for group learning and workshops.

Six Main Objectives:

  • GENERAL SUPPORTS: To address an overview of supports that will support the youth with life skills, sharing circles, and one-to-one supports.
  • YOUTH IN CARE: Gives Indigenous Youth the opportunity to access culture. Culturally appropriate supports and advocacy are provided for youth in care with their families and caregivers.
  • PHYSICAL HEALTH DEVELOPMENT: Provides healthy meals, snacks and physical activities to learn more about the nutrition and health impacts.
  • EDUCATION: Guides the youth through the education system with additional homework help and IEP supports. This can include alternative education resources and stay-in-school initiatives.
  • JUSTICE INTERVENTION: Positive reinforcements that address the cause of negative behaviors for youth involved in the justice system.
  • ADDRESSING VIOLENCE: Involvement of learning more about traditional roles and responsibilities and decision making. Build healthy relationships through problem solving with positive self-identity.
  • The purpose of the Wasa-Nabin Program is to provide support and guidance within a cultural framework for youth aged 13-18 years of age. Youth who are planning to look forward in overcoming barriers that may be a result of their choices in life. The goal of the Wasa Nabin Program is to incorporate cultural knowledge and share traditional activities that bring value and belief to the individual that is encouraged to make healthier lifestyle choices. It is hoped that youth involved with the program will build upon and foster their inherent ability to be proud of themselves.

Right to Play Community Mentor

Right To Play’s Promoting Life-skills in Indigenous Youth (PLAY) program partners with Indigenous communities and organizations to train locally-hired Community Mentors to deliver weekly play-based, interactive programs that promote healthy living, healthy relationships, education and employability life-skills. Community Mentors are trained and supported by Right To Play staff as they develop programs that are responsive to the individual needs of their community. The Right To Play Program at the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre services youth aged 13-24.