About Us

Welcome to YouthCAN Social Enterprise, where we are not just a custom clothing printing company – we are a catalyst for change. Fueled by a generous grant from RBC, our dynamic screen printing operation in Hamilton is on a mission to combat the NEET rate among youth aged 15 to 30. At YouthCAN, we go beyond providing high-quality apparel to businesses, schools, and sports teams across Canada. Our dual objectives drive us to offer essential training and employment opportunities, immersing young individuals in the transformative world of social enterprise. Our ultimate goal is ambitious: to slash the NEET rate by 15% before 2025, empowering futures and customizing styles along the way. Join us in making a difference – choose YouthCAN Social Enterprise for your custom print clothing needs. "Empowering futures, customizing styles" is not just a slogan; it's our commitment to a brighter tomorrow.

Our History

In 2015, YouthCAN Social Enterprise emerged from a collaborative effort by Centre[3], Threshold School of Building, Hamilton Youth Poets, Wesley Urban Ministries, and the Mental Health Rights Coalition. United under the banner of the Collective Impact group, Hamilton: 20:2020, our mission initially focused on job retention for downtown Hamilton youth aged 22-26. Empowered by the Laidlaw Foundation’s Conversation-Starter Micro Grant, our journey involved securing a Development Coach, Coach Nancy Dubois, and refining key components like the Impact Statement, Theory of Change, Logic Model, and Governance Model.

As our commitment deepened, youth leaders Chris Zhou and Gonca Aydin guided a shift in focus towards combating the NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) rate in Hamilton for youth aged 15 to 30. In 2018, armed with a YouthCI Launch Grant, YouthCAN set forth to implement its Theory of Change. Shahd Salman became our Project Coordinator, and co-chairs for each strategy were nominated. The team, comprising 30+ participants from various sectors, embraced the challenge of reducing the NEET rate by 15% before 2025.

Today, YouthCAN stands not only as a transformative force in youth employment but also as a dynamic screen printing company, fueled by a generous RBC grant, providing training, employment opportunities, and high-quality custom apparel. Our mission is succinct – “empowering futures, customizing styles” – and we invite you to join us in this impactful journey.

Meet Our Team

Colina Maxwell
Executive Director

Colina Maxwell, co-founder and Executive Director of Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts in Hamilton, has led the organization since 2004, making it a hub for diverse artistic expression and community engagement, notably through initiatives like the James North Art Crawl. Her influential leadership has garnered prestigious awards, including the 2011 Art Administration Award and the 2013 Women of Distinction award for Art and Culture from the City of Hamilton.

Walter Penado-Vasquez
Social Enterprise Manager

Walter, a Hamilton-based artist, holds a Fine Arts degree with a focus on Arts Education and Community Engagement from Centennial College. With experience in digital printing and archival work at Centre[3], he actively contributes to non-profit initiatives in Hamilton. Walter is a skilled traditional and digital artist, bringing a unique blend of creativity and community involvement to his work.

Thank you to our Supporters