In March 2015, Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts, Threshold School of Building (employment program), Hamilton Youth Poets (HYP), Wesley Urban Ministries and the Mental Health Rights Coalition came together to form a Collective Impact (CI) group to focus on job retention for youth. Centre[3] became the backbone and submitted the first application to the Laidlaw Foundation for the “Conversation-Starter Micro Grant”.  They secured the grant and had their first meeting of the CI.  In July of 2015, the collecitve submitted the “self-assessment application” to the Laidlaw Foundation and was invited to attend Workshop I.  While at Workshop I, the collective met another Hamilton CI group lead by City Housing. Not wanting redundancy, both groups joined forces to make one collective impact group with a focus on enmployment and job retention for youth between 22-26 who live in the Hamilton downtown core. The CI was named Hamilton: 20:2020. The name dervided from the goal of by 2020 the CI wanted to move the needle to reduce the unemployment rate for youth in Hamilton.  From there they filled out a YouthCI application to secure a Development Coach.  In February 2016 they succeeded and were assigned Coach Nancy Dubois for six months (February to July).  The objectives were to confirm the Intended Impact Statement, develop an Engagement Strategy for additional partners and determine how youth will be involved in the initiative. 

Over the course of the six months, YouthCAN formed sub-groups to work on different areas of the Collective Impact:  Impact Statement (IS), Theory of Change (TOC), Logic Model and a Governance Model. During this phase the Impact Statement was revised many times. They also appointed two new youth leaders: Gonca Aydin, a graduate of an employment program, and Chris Zhou, a McMaster Health Sciences student and member of the Prime Minister Youth Council. With Coach Lynn, the sub-group spent a lot of time discussing the intended impact statement, and determining the target population.  Initially they focused on youth who face barriers to employment, but then realized it was a complicated measurement and might require youth to disclose barriers they face, which creates an additional barrier. We then discovered the term NEET (neither in education, employment or training), a term Stats Canada recognizes and collects data against nationally.  They eventually acquired the 2016 NEET stats for Hamilton, for youth aged 15-29, which shows that 13.9% of youth are NEET. The sub-group revised the old statement and decided to: change the timeline from 2020 to 2025, work with the NEET data, and include the term ‘self-identifying.’ 

In January 2018, YouthCAN submitted and secured a six month (March to October ) YouthCI Launch Grant to implement their TOC. Currently YouthCAN is made up of 30+ participants from: employment programs; employment agencies, educational institutions, youth groups, art-based groups, social services, McMaster University, the health sector, and youth members who all have a vested interest in youth and employment in Hamilton.  YouthCAN hired Shahd Salman to be the Project Coordinator and nominated co-chairs for each strategy.  YouthCAN also hired Zach Anderson from Twelve Canada to be the Third Party Evaluator.


K.Gonca Aydin moved to Hamilton 13 years ago from France and is originally from Turkey. Aydin is one of the founders of the Ngen Youth Centre in Hamilton where she volunteers from time to time. NGen Youth Centre is a youth-led community organization and drop-in space engaging young people aged 13-24 to participate in the development of positive, interconnected, resilient communities. Through a progressive framework prioritizing inclusion and placing the needs, concerns, and leadership of youth at its core, the impact of young people’s voices on relevant issues is strengthened, and youth are afforded opportunities to develop leadership, participate meaningfully, and create change. Aydin was also part of a steering committee for Hamilton Experience Based Co-Design Study by Dr. Gillian Mulvale at McMaster University. She is also the founder of a youth mental health radio show that engages youth from across the city through which she planned and hosted a city-wide youth mental health conference and supported the youth engagement process that co-designed the implementation of the Youth Wellness Centre.

Aydin is an excellent candidate for the position of Co-chair for the Youth-Focused Website Strategy.  For one she is a highly active youth who is very interested in making employment programs more accessible to racialized youth in Hamilton.  She feels a youth friendly website will help provide youth with the necessary information, so that they can better access services and gain knowledge about the various employment programs as well as the labor market. She is also a graduate of the Nu Deal employment program and through that program she gained insights in to the challenges youth face with employment. On numerous occasions Aydin took a leadership in helping other youth navigate through the system. She is also an artist; singer, model & actress.

Sahra is an undergraduate student at McMaster University finishing their final year in Multimedia. Sahra’s involvement in the community and in organizing is reflected through their work and many roles including co-president of the McMaster Womanists, artist with HAVN (Hamilton Audio Visual Node) Arts collective and COBRA (Coalition of Black and Racialized Artists), OPIRG board member, and member of the Hamilton Young Workers. Sahra’s activism and efforts as an organizer includes a documentary project called E(Race)d Out which focuses on racism, Islamophobia, gendered violence, and gentrification. Sahra takes on as a lead media maker with respect to filming, editing, and directing.

Yusuf is a 23-year-old, who is a member of the NGen Youth Centre. As a researcher and activist, Yusuf fights for the rights of youth and their voices to be heard. Not only is Yusuf an active member and worker within his Somali community in Hamilton but also the wide range of youth residing in Hamilton. His experience as a community-based researcher is primarily from being a part of the Hamilton Hustle’s research on socio-economic racism and its effects on youth of colour in terms of employment, housing, schooling, etc. Yusuf’s fierce passion for ensuring that black youth, coloured youth, and youth in general are given a voice and the space to express themselves without judgment is what drives him and makes him a great addition to this team.

Linda Al Johani, is a passionate activist working in the community as a youth engager. Linda is a member of the City of Hamilton, Youth Advisory Committee. Also a member of the Street Youth Planning Collaborative, Youth Leaders Committee. Actively working for youth initiatives, and representing the youth voice. Networking all around Ontario, with a goal of provincial representation, then national. Linda aims to help all around the world, empowering rights and justice.

Angus McIntyre, is 

the founding member of the youth council at the McQuesten Youth Opportunity Creators. The youth council has been very successful over the past 4 years.  McIntyre feels this is a result of them focusing on Volunteerism, Recreation and Job Opportunities, while utilizing the unique talents that youth process. At MYOC he tries to meet youth where they are at and work from there to help build their capacity and skills in ways that are relevant to youth as individuals. He helps youth develop their social and professional circles by helping to create and maintain positive healthy relationships between peer to peer, and peer to adult ally and service provider. Throughout McIntyre’s years with MYOC he has helped develop and shape the delivery of MYOC to make sure it is relevant to its member’s needs. Being MYOC’s first “Welcomer” McIntyre was able to help youth navigate our sometimes confusing and quirky youth council allowing them to find a voice and an individualized space for them to grow and develop into community leaders.  McIntyre served as Welcomer for a term and then was able to pass on the torch to two younger youth members and act as a mentor when they needed guidance. Now as one of MYOC’s social media and communications reps McIntyre is always looking to engage new youth to come out to their council. McIntyre is also a founder of our “Mental Health Support Group” sub-committee whose goals is to help youth connect to the appropriate services at a peer to peer level. McIntyre continues to remind the committee of the importance of individual capacity building, so that they are better equipped to help youth navigate the system. He also reminds them that their capacity is not to provide services that they are not trained in but to connect youth to services that already exist by experts. McIntyre calls it “asset based development”. He believes that when youth have the opportunities to develop skills and capacity they may be better equipped to cope with mental health challenges.

McIntyre would be a fantastic asset to any youth initiative but most especially initiatives where skill and capacity building are the focus. Being a Co-chair of the Youth Capacity Building Strategy will be a fantastic opportunity to allow McIntyre to further develop his capacity as he grows with the Youth CAN CI project.

Julie Shea is the Director of Operations at Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts. She obtained a Masters in Health Administration from the University of Ottawa but has worked mainly in the private sector where she owned and operated a financial planning company for over 15 years. Julie’s employment experience beyond that of managing 25 employees in her company, comes in the form of her position as Program Coordinator for NuDeal Job Ready Skill Link employment program. Julie currently holds the position of co-chair for the YouthCan CI Collective Impact Group and overseas Strategy 2; specifically Standardized Training, where she oversees the SHIFT program and Post Program Support where she oversees the Local Poverty Reduction grant that is establishing a team to support youth who are currently in jobs in order  to assist them in retaining employment. Julie is also the chair of Body Brave and President of the Hamilton Rotary Club.

Alyssa Mari Duran moved to Hamilton July of 2017 from the Philippines. She finished her degree in Accounting in 2016 in the Philippines. During that short time, she have completed the Success In Service Training and Retention (SISTER) Program out of the YWCA December of 2017. Through the SISTER Program, she worked as an administrative assistant as a placement student at Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts where she is now employed. Alyssa is honoured to be a part of the Collective Impact group as she started helping out with the YouthCAN Collective Impact as a co-chair of Strategy 2 and is currently a co-chair of Strategy 3 – External Engagement Committee.

Chris Zhou, is a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, Chris Zhou empowers young people around him with the skills and opportunities to become the leaders of today. He advises the Prime Minister and other government officials on national issues surrounding youth and all Canadians. With more than 1,000 hours of community service, Zhou has been involved with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, Free the Children, and the Canadian International Education Policy Working Group. Studying Health Sciences at McMaster University, Zhou hopes that his involvement in the community could provide a platform from which young people’s voices resonate in society.

Zhou would be honoured to serve as YouthCAN Co-Chair for External Engagement. Having been part of its development since the beginning, he is excited about the work we do in YouthCan! In his capacity as a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, he frequently advises the Minister of Employment and the Expert Panel on Youth Employment, specifically on improvements that should be made to the Skills Link Employment Program. As such, he has the experience, networks, and passion to ensure the impact of YouthCAN! by co-chairing the External Engagement Committee.


Colina Maxwell is the co-founder and Executive Director of Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts (formerly known as The Print Studio) based in Hamilton, Ontario.  Since its inception in 2004, Maxwell has worked responsibly to make Centre[3] diverse and inclusive from a governance, operations and programming level. Centre[3] has a rigorous artistic and social practice where it supports artists in creation, production, presentation and dissemination of art and engages with the wider community in contemporary art. Other cultural accomplishment is the James North Art Crawl. In 2006 Maxwell with others encouraged everyone to coordinate our gallery openings. This was the birth of the James North Art Crawl the 2nd Friday of every month, which started with 50+ people to now attracting 1,000+. Centre[3] has become a driving force in Hamilton that has helped to revitalize it to be the vibrant city that it is today. In 2011, Maxwell was awarded the Art Administration Award for the City of Hamilton and 2013, she was awarded the Women of Distinction award for Art and Culture by the City of Hamilton.

As an artist and from a feminist lens, Maxwell’s artwork is politically charged, exploring gender, social constructs and labour. Maxwell has a substantial amount of formal training in visual arts and art history: BA of Art History and English Literature (University of Toronto), Visual Arts (University of Toronto, Sheridan College joint program), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a summer at the Glasgow School of Art.  In 2012, Maxwell and Thea Faulds secured an Ontario Arts Council media arts project grant to work on a 30-minute documentary titled Steel Kitchen, that explores the interface between men’s work and women’s work. The documentary captures the story of the women who in 1978 filed an Ontario Human Rights Commission complaint and conducted a major public campaign against Stelco for their discriminatory hiring practices. The women successfully won their case and overnight Stelco was forced to hire women for production work in the Hamilton mill. Steel Kitchen explores thesex/gender division of labour and the ideologies of femininity and masculinity.  In 2017, Maxwell secured another project grant from OAC and the City of Hamilton to work with Jim Ruxton and Hitoko Okada on a piece that explores the interconnections between traditional knitting and computer programming.

Shahd is the new YouthCAN Coordinator who just joined our team. She is a youth that has recently moved to Canada from Sudan. Shahd holds Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Communication, specializes in Marketing. Since being in Canada she has familiarized herself with employment agencies and training programs first hand. That along with her volunteering experience in the community and with youth groups in Hamilton is what makes her insight and connections so valuable to this collective.

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