John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area

Youth Programs

Aggression Management Program

The Aggression Management Program is a cognitive skills based program for youth 12 – 17 years who have interpersonal problems as a result of their aggressive behaviour. The program consists of eight ninety minute sessions designed to help youth identify their personal aggression patterns, explore alternatives and develop a plan of action to improve how the young person responds to stressful situations. The program is divided into the five components of Anger, Communication, Triggers, Choice Points and Problem Solving.
Note: This program is open to internal referrals only through the Extrajudicial Measures and Sanctions programs.

Choices: Cognitive Skills For Youth At Risk

(Funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services)
Choices is an interactive eight session program designed for both males and females 12-17 years of age. Choices is offered on a weekly basis, both on and off site, and each session is ninety minutes long. The goal of the program is to provide youth with practical skills that will assist them in making better choices at home, school and with their peers. This program is open to community referrals.

Crime Prevention Program

This program is a short term intervention designed to create greater awareness in participants of the costs of criminal behaviour to their community, as well as, their responsibility to change their own actions to create positive change. The program teaches the young person how to constructively respond to problem situations through the use of various exercises focusing on self control, conflict, responsibility, stealing, the law, decision making and leisure time. This program serves youth between the ages of 12 to 17 years. Note: This program is open to internal referrals only through the Extrajudicial Measures and Sanctions programs.

Extrajudicial Measures Program

(Funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services)
In partnership with Hamilton Police Services, youth are diverted from the formal youth justice process while holding them accountable for their actions in a community context. We work with each young person to design a program of measures that addresses their risks and needs as well as the needs of the person(s) harmed and the community. The outcome of each case is reported back to Hamilton Police Services. This program serves youth 12 to 17 years of age.

Extrajudicial Sanctions Program

(Funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services)
In partnership with the Hamilton Crown Attorney’s Office and Hamilton Youth Probation Services, we assist youth through a diversion program as an alternative to the formal court process. We contract with the young person and provide them with sanctions (tasks) to complete as a means of holding them accountable for their actions while helping them recognize the impact of their behaviour on the person(s) harmed and their community. The youth’s strengths and needs are targeted to create an individual program with the intention of benefits to both the youth and their community.

Hamilton Youth Drug Diversion Program (HYDDP)

(Supported by a donation from Newalta Corporation )
The Hamilton Youth Drug Diversion Program was initiated by Hamilton Police Services to address the needs of school aged youth 12 to 17 years of age who are arrested for drug offences. Rather than send youth to court for their drug related misdemeanours, the police wanted an alternative that would assess the youth’s individual needs, but still hold them accountable for their actions.

Youth are referred to the program by a police officer. They are instructed to contact the John Howard Society to arrange a meeting with a youth worker. The youth is scheduled for a screening with a counselor from Alternatives for Youth and the John Howard Society to determine the youth’s substance use level, their motivation to change and any other significant strengths and risks of the youth. The results of these assessments determine the most appropriate intervention, or combination of interventions for the young person. There are three options: 1. Education Day: Suitable for a youth who is a casual drug user. 2. Five Session Group: Suitable for a youth who is a moderate drug user. 3. Individual Counseling: Suitable for a youth who may be struggling with addiction. Every youth and a parent/support person is required to attend the Education Day as a part of their program of measures/sanctions.

The HYDDP is a collaborative, comprised of the following agencies: Hamilton Police Services, The John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington and Area, Alternatives for Youth, Good Shepherd Youth Services, and City of Hamilton, Culture and Recreation Services. The Newalta Corporation has generously provided partial funding and staffing to this program through their Community Investment Program. Note: This program is open to internal referrals only through the Extrajudicial Measures and Sanctions programs.

Neighbourhood Clean Team Program

This program is run in partnership with The City of Hamilton, Public Works Department and the Hamilton Police Service, Crime Prevention Unit. The program was established as a community service alternative for youth to participate in graffiti removal, litter clean up and other community beautification activities with the goal of engaging youth in restoring the community by repairing harm done, as well as serve as a meaningful way for youth to take responsibility for graffiti and mischief related offences. This program is open to internal referrals only through the Extrajudicial Measures, Extrajudicial Sanctions, and Community Service Order Program.

Family Support Program

(Funded by the United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton)
The Family Support Program is designed to provide support, information, early intervention and referral to other services for parents with youth ages 12 to 17 who are experiencing parenting challenges or parent/child conflicts. Service is strength based, family centered and offered in individual or group formats. The goal is to assist families to find positive solutions to conflicts and concerns by identifying and using family strengths, creating greater understanding between parents and youth and providing a skills building process for parents of youth.
Although the topics of the group sessions are participant directed some of the sessions available include: providing effective boundaries, communication strategies, problem solving, negotiation and conflict resolution. The program is delivered on site and off site throughout Hamilton, Burlington and Area and is open to community referrals.

Youth Justice Committee

(Funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General)
The Youth Justice Committee involves trained community members who meet with victims, young people 12 to 17 years of age accused of minor, non-violent offences, and their parents, to negotiate an appropriate way for the young person to make amends for his or her actions. The Committee may develop and implement alternatives to formal court proceedings, either on referral by police or the Crown. Examples of alternate interventions include community service, restitution and counselling programs. All young people must agree to accept responsibility for their actions, and to apologize to the victim.

Non-Residential Attendance Centre (NRAC)

(Funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services)
The JHS of Hamilton Burlington & Area provides a highly structured intensive community based alternative to custody for youth (ages 12-17) who have come in contact with the law. Youth engage in effective cognitive programming based on prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration. The program provides individualized support for youth to assist them in achieving their program goals, motivate and facilitate change and supports them in becoming positive members of the Hamilton Community.

Gang Prevention Resource Guide

(Funded by the Department of Justice Canada)
The John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington, & Area has been provided funds in January 2011 from the Federal Justice: Youth Justice Fund – Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Component to develop a Gang Prevention Resource Guide for young people that are currently engaged in the Youth Justice System. The guide will provide prevention and intervention resources aimed at the young people, their parents or guardians, and youth service providers in efforts to prevent and / or stop gang involvement.
The guide is available online through the link on the main page of the JHS Hamilton website in English or French.

Restorative Justice Project

(Funded by The Ontario Trillium Foundation)
The project is a collaborative partnership between the John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area, Hamilton Police Services, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board and the City of Hamilton. The project is funded by the Trillium Foundation.
This project is an innovative and creative restorative justice program targeted to youth who are at risk of being expelled from school. The restorative justice approach focuses on the restoration of relationships, being accountable for behaviour and identifying community support and involvement.
This project trains representatives from the partnering agencies to become “train the trainers” in the restorative justice model.

HWDSB Cognitive Programming Initiative

A youth worker from the John Howard Society is assigned to the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board to provide the following functions in the Suspension/ Expulsion program.
Support the work of staff and management, including teachers, teaching assistants, social workers, and in charge principal
Provide support to restorative practice in the class room.
Liaise and collaborate with other community agencies regarding the delivery of cognitive behavioural programs
Provide cognitive skill development facilitation and individual work
Provide direct behavioural interventions as required

Hamilton Wentworth District School Board Youth Worker Contract for the Grade 12 and 12+ initiative and the Urban Priorities Initiative

The John Howard Society Hamilton Burlington and Area provides Youth Worker contracted services to these initiatives to support students who are at risk of not completing grade 12 or who have returned to school to complete grade 12. The services supports training and facilitation of restorative justice to further explore goal development, social, emotional, and cognitive skill development. The aim is to support students to reach success and graduate Grade 12.

YARD Program

YARD Hamilton (Youth at Risk Development) is a community-based, Gang Reduction Strategy initiative that supports youth who are in a gang or at risk for gang involvement.
The YARD team will provide services such as:
Individual Counselling/Case Management
Life Skill Development
Employment Assistance
Educational Support
YARD Hamilton will work to develop an individualized case management plan that is client centered in order to help youth at risk avoid or escape the gang lifestyle.
Participants will be screened and placed in one of two streams. Each stream will consist of two hours of programming and one hour of recreation per week.
Prevention – The program will set out to assist youth at risk with gang affiliation through a 12 week program and 12 weeks of community support with a mentor.
Intervention – The program provides support to individuals who have been identified as having high risk for gang affiliation or have confirmed gang affiliation. Participants will complete 24 weeks of programming and 24 weeks of support with a mentor.
This is a voluntary program that is free of charge. It is open to individuals between the ages of 12 to 24, who are currently involved in a gang or at risk of gang involvement.
For more information on the program please visit the YARD Hamilton website.

Safer and Vital Communities Grant – Report Homophobic Violence, Period

The Hamilton RHVP (Report Homophobic Violence, Period) targets sexual orientation motivated hate crime and incidents in the Hamilton community. The project will educate and create an awareness of the effects of homophobia and transphobia and will provide education to address, challenge and stop behavior which could lead to the commission of a hate crime…

The Hamilton Police Service 2010 hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report identifies that there was a 41% increase in total reported hate crimes/ incidents (124) in 2010 compared to 2009. The report identifies that hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation make up 17% of all hate crimes reported to the Hamilton Police Service (Hamilton Police Service Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report, 2010). The Statistics Canada Report identified that the commission of hate crimes is a youth phenomena with half of the victims and two thirds of the perpetrators of hate crimes being between the ages of 12 and 24(Hate Crime in Canada, 2006) This report also identified that sexual orientation motivated hate crimes in Canada were predominantly violent offences against the person (55%). According to the 2007 McCreary Centre Society Study 2007 and the EGALE Canada’s first National School Survey, it is clearly established that homophobic and transphobic bullying and violence is a significant problem in Canadian Schools.

Beasley Youth Asset Development Initiative

With the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, The John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area has teamed up with various civic minded partners including the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, The City of Hamilton, Hamilton Rotary A.M. and the Beasley Community to launch the Beasley Youth Asset Development Initiative (“BYADI”) and achieve Collective Impact. During this three year project, we will use the Search Institute’s framework of Developmental Assets to increase the developmental assets of youth living in and around the Beasley community by assisting this community in becoming an asset rich environment for youth.

The Developmental Assets framework has become the widely used approach to positive youth development in North America. Studies of more than 2.2 million youth show that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high risk behaviours and the more likely they are to thrive. Assets have power for all youth, regardless of gender, economic status, family or race/ethnicity. We will unite into action, all sectors of the community to intentionally build the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets into the lives of Beasley youth.

Over the three years the collaborative will create awareness, educate and activate the sectors around intentional asset building by:

  • Mobilizing youth to become asset builders and change agents in their communities.
  • Engaging adults to develop sustained, strength-building relationships with youth.
  • Invigorating programs for youth to become asset rich and accessible
  • Connecting with decision makers for financial, media and policy resources in support of this positive initiative within the Beasley Community.

Foundations Program

The Foundations Program is a partnership between JHS and the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board that serves students who are at risk and due to their behaviour, have exhausted all other interventions.

JHS Youth Workers and the HWDSB assigned teacher work collaboratively to help students grow socially and emotionally, while developing the necessary skills to meet their educational goals in a restorative environment that motivates participation through inclusivity and sense of community. Students are referred to this program through the HWDSB.