Five reasons why you should apply for Focus on Youth 2022


Looking for that perfect first summer job? The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) has a program for you! Focus on Youth (FOY) is a summer work opportunity for HWDSB students seeking valuable work, leadership, and soft skills experience within the Hamilton community.

Applications for Focus on Youth 2022 are now open:

Still on the fence? The Focus on Youth team shared five reasons why the program is a perfect fit for summer 2022.

Reason #1: Explore interests in a workplace

With various placement options, Focus on Youth students can explore passions, skills, and future career paths related to their interests. The areas of intervention of our program are:

  • Literacy,
  • Numeracy,
  • STEM,
  • Community involvement,
  • Horticulture,
  • Sports/Leisure,
  • and based on art/culture,
  • Workplace, leadership and soft skills training.

Students are placed with agencies that match their interests and strengths. Favorites from past placements have been McQuesten Urban Farm and Hamilton’s Victory Garden, where students help grow and maintain community gardens around the city of Hamilton.

“This summer I had the opportunity to work at Victory Gardens and McQuesten Urban Farm. Throughout the summer, I was able to visually see the impact of my work. I harvested the kale and tomatoes, watered and watched the squash I planted sprout. Seeing this made me feel quite accomplished.

– Focus on young students, 2021

Reason #2: Make meaningful connections in the community, with FOY peers and senior staff

The Focus on Youth program is built from a foundation of community support and connectivity. Not only do we partner with local nonprofits for our student placements, but we also view our Focus on Youth program as community. Through student socials and weekly learning communities, students receive ongoing support from peers, program leaders, and placement staff.

“My favorite thing about the program is being in touch with everyone. Everyone is super nice at my internship and in the Focus on Youth program”

– Focus on young students, 2021

Reason #3: Gain Valuable Professional Training

The youth focus is no wonder when it comes to professional training – we strive to have a continuous learning structure within our curriculum. Through weekly challenges, a week of paid pre-employment training, learning communities and a five-week paid job placement, FOY students can develop their professional and soft skills throughout the program, while receiving guidance from program monitors along the way.

“Focus on Youth is super great for students looking for their first job. The support you get from Focus on Youth is amazing.

– Focus on young students, 2021

Reason #4: Explore mindfulness and mental health strategies

Mental health awareness and mindfulness strategies are central to the FOY program. We understand the importance of breaking down barriers, eliminating the stigma associated with mental health, and providing a toolkit for students to manage everyday stressors. Mindfulness training, weekly check-ins and mental health programs (Youth Mental Health and Addictions Champion program) are important pillars of the FOY program.

“This summer, I took a lot of time to take care of my mental health. I’ve never really taken the time to look after my mental health in depth before”

Focus on young students, 2021

Reason #5: The beginning of professional experience

For many former students, the Focus on Youth program is one of the first steps toward summer employment. Thus, life skills related to finances, managing a work-life balance, and accessing “next steps” regarding fall employment are essential for the program. Focus on Youth students will participate in learning communities with financial guest speakers, participate in mindfulness activities, and attend career events for future professional interest.

“It was one of the best summers I’ve ever had in my life. I can’t believe it’s over already! I’m glad I was able to gain so much experience as well as more knowledge that I will definitely help in my next chapter of life”

– Focus on young students, 2020

Applications for Focus on Youth 2022 opened on May 23, 2022. We ask all applicants to follow the submission instructions given on the FOY webpage. The application deadline is June 10, 2022. Our Youth Focus team here at HWDSB is excited about the 2022 program and hope to see you!

Updated on Friday, May 27, 2022.


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