CORE Enterprises At A Glance

CORE Enterprises @ McMaster Innovation Park (MIP) serves many different youth in various ways. At CORE, we provide an opportunity for youth to become engaged in a seamless delivery of elective credits in a real world, authentic learning environment focusing on self-employment skills, life skills and creating pathways to success.

Students will be responsible for their part in small and large projects working together to reach their goals while mentors, teachers, volunteers and McMaster University and Mohawk College Interns guide or coach them through the process. The physical location of the program is a beautiful office space in a very funky building: McMaster Innovation Park. (MIP)

Some youth who come to CORE are secondary students who can’t find placement in the arts anywhere in the city during regular school hours. These youth become good role models to other students as they feel a sense of importance. Local artists and professionals lead workshops in many topics and interests based on the youth’s requests. Our youth are gifted students, those with learning problems, talented or are average students who all perform best by dreaming, designing, developing and delivering their own projects to completion. Through this process, natural leaders emerge while youth don’t just survive-they thrive.

A youth in Hamilton in need of help can find many different services. They can be assigned case workers who can encourage and monitor them but if they remain with uneducated friends who are like-thinkers who impact on their very lonely lives, their chances to change or be able to even realize their potential or to find a purpose is dim. The story passes from generation to generation. Some of these youth have been bullied or are bullies themselves. Many could not cope with the school system and have poor attendance or left school behind. These youth will find great difficulty at ever completing their high school diploma without a spark igniting their passion: some of them didn’t even remember they had passion.  Other CORE candidates are those who left school, are at work or hanging out in malls or staying at home un-engaged in life. Some may already be involved with the law or in a gang, going nowhere. These are the youth-at-risk who deplete the health, educational, child and youth systems daily.

These youth need to identify with a new community, an authentic community that attracts many different youth to:

  • make new friends from across the city in a space where they feel they belong and have a sense of purpose;

  • gain credits through their own self-interest projects supported by their high-school co-op teachers;

  • build trust relationships with peers, interns, mentors and coaches;

  • have their own personal fitness coach (Mohawk College health and fitness student) who can help them build healthy routines and work out in a state-of-the art fitness centre;

  • re-discover the marvels of Hamilton by using our city as their classroom through part time placements in businesses, visiting sites, interviewing people and exploring their areas of interest;

  • taking their newly found learning and deliver their product or service to the community;

  • starting their own business;

  • hone life skills that help them realize the value of a sense of community and of their own worth;

  • apply their new skills as entrepreneurs.

This authentic approach to learning can be duplicated in rural or remote areas where internet access is available.  CORE Enterprises is quite replicable once the leaders understand the basic premise of operation for success. Dr. Gina Browne’s McMaster University Research Team provides an intake process with assessments that are invaluable that show us what we need to adjust to make this program engaging, exciting and empowering. It shows us our strengths and the progress the youth are making or where we need to focus more. Dr. Browne’s findings and assessment are available at this website.