Two people painting a mural

Introducing “The 196+”

One year ago, our youth program added The 196+ which aims to help The 196 youth transition into high school. We provide a fun and safe space for the grade 9s and help them acclimatize to their new school environment. They can work on their communication skills, resumé and cover letter writing, and are given opportunities to engage in the community through volunteer work that goes toward the hours they need for graduation.
14 youth joined the 196+ program this past school year and we look forward to The 196+ starting again this Fall!

The 196 and 196+ are both youth-led and support youth in a fun, fit, and healthy way.

The goal of both programs is to encourage students to pursue post-secondary education. Youth Leaders accomplish this goal by offering activities Monday to Friday including homework help, physical activities, cooking lessons, healthy meals, tours at Mohawk and McMaster, and more.

“We want to provide the participants with a space to gain experiences that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” explains Adalia, The 196 Program Coordinator.

Mini Chefs is a cooking program that teaches youth in The 196 cooking, food safety, and other food skills.

“This is an opportunity for kids to learn food literacy. Often kids would be hesitant to try something unfamiliar, like tofu but when we show them how to sauté it in a great sauce and add it to udon soup, they are usually willing to try and discover they like it!

Alongside introducing them to new foods, we also show them how to create great dishes with ingredients they might readily have access to, or find ways to make dishes healthier like adding shredded veggies to your brownies to give them more nutrients,” says Adalia.

Youth also learn proper kitchen etiquette, proper hygiene standards in the kitchen, how to use knives and other kitchen tools safely, and different ways to cook, bake, and prepare foods.

Did you know that learning how to grow your own food can have an impact on food insecurity?

Sprouts, a program for youth in The 196, teaches youth how to grow their own food while emphasizing environmental sustainability.

Thanks to a partnership with Mohawk College’s Sustainability Program, youth in our community learn about environmentalism, how pollination works, plant life cycles, and more! They also give youth hands-on experience with growing vegetables from seeds. When the seedlings are well-established, The 196 sells them at Mohawk College’s Community Garden at a Seedling Sale.

“It is a great day where we gain sales and marketing experience, and the money we make goes back into our program for Summer camp! It is definitely a highlight of our program,” explains Adalia.
Plants leftover from the Sale get planted in a community garden where youth are encouraged to help care for them and harvest them during the Summer.

“At Mission Services, we know summer camps are a great way to maintain and strengthen relationships with the youth while giving them structure and an outlet for their creativity and energy!” says Adalia.

During summer camps, the youth have a lot of say in what activities they get to do. This summer, the program visited Bayfront and explored the HMCS Haida, went roller skating, visited the Art Museum, did cooking challenges, conducted a Scavenger hunt, and more!

Each day the program also provided a daily challenge for the youth; exhibiting certain positive traits, such as empathy, gratitude, encouragement, or patience, gained them points that could be redeemed for prizes at the end of camp!

The youth who join us are the next leaders of our neighbourhood and our city. We are proud of them and look forward to seeing their future impact!

The youth programs are funded from donations from supporters like you, as well as by grants from Hamilton Community Foundation: ABACUS Program, the City of Hamilton City Enrichment Fund, Mischa Weisz Foundation, TC Energy, The Alice and Murray Maitland Foundation, The Children’s Fund, and the Gordon and Ruth Gooder Charitable Foundation!

Know youth who would want to join The 196 (grade 6-8) or The 196+ (grade 9)? Please share the linked flyers!

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