Important message regarding COVID-19 and AY services

The health and safety of our clients and staff remains our top priority as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. We are continuing to offer all intake, assessment and counselling services virtually via telephone and videoconferencing. For those clients whose needs can’t be met via virtual means, we can explore arrangements for individual in-person appointments at our downtown location. Group programs are being offered via videoconferencing. If you are new to AY, please call 905-527-4469 ex 3 for intake services, or complete the electronic referral form on this website. If you are an existing AY client, please contact your AY Therapist at the cell number previously provided to you.

Please continue to visit our website for up-to-date information about services. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging time.

Call for Applications – Board of Directors (Volunteer Positions)

Alternatives for Youth (AY) is a non-profit agency that provides substance use and concurrent mental health treatment to children, youth and young adults who are experiencing difficulties related to the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. We also provide therapeutic support to parents/caregivers/families through our Parent Education, Support and Skills Development program. In addition to our central downtown location at 38 James Street South, AY currently provides services in numerous secondary schools, youth serving agencies, and post-secondary institutions in the Hamilton community.

AY’s mission is to provide community based substance use and addiction treatment services that engage and mobilize youth and their families. Our Vision is to inspire hope and resilience in youth. AY currently receives funding from the Ministry of Health (MoH), the City of Hamilton, and the United Way of Halton & Hamilton.

The role of the Board of Directors is to provide responsible leadership and guidance to the agency’s overall direction. The Board functions through a governance model and as such, is tasked with the following responsibilities:

  • Prepare for and attend monthly Board meetings; committee meetings as needed, and the Annual General Meeting
  • Strategic Plan development
  • Approve budgets and monitor financial performance
  • Review organizational by-laws and Board policies
  • Establish criteria and monitor Executive Director performance
  • Participate in Board recruitment process
  • Keep informed about community issues relevant to the mission and objectives of AY

The Board welcomes applications from any individual who feels that they are ready and able to commit for a three-year term to support the agency’s mission and vision. The Board meets monthly on the third Monday of each month at 6:00 PM.

Skills & Qualifications:

  • Enthusiasm and passion for contributing to the Hamilton community and an understanding of the issues affecting the agency and the community
  • Forward thinking with the ability to work well within a team environment
  • Willingness to be a spokesperson and advocate
  • Desire to contribute skills and expertise in at least one of the following areas;
    • Finance/Accounting
    • Human Resources
    • Risk Management
    • Fundraising/Donor Development
    • Marketing/Community Development/Public Relations
  • Volunteer board experience is an asset but not a requirement

Along with consideration of the following:

  • Affiliation or familiarity with Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) communities and issues
  • Affiliation or familiarity with Two-Spirit, non-binary, trans, lesbian gay, bisexual and queer people (2SLGBTQ+)
  • Differently-abled persons
  • Persons with an affiliation or familiarity with substance use or addictions issues

We thank all applicants for their interest. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Applicants are invited to provide a letter of interest and resume/profile to Helena Birt at

SMART Recovery virtual group meetings

Alternatives for Youth is providing a SMART Recovery® Virtual Group for young people ages 18 to 25 looking to makes changes to their substance use.

This group uses a peer support model where participants support each other towards achieving their goals. In the group we will be learning tools and techniques to assist with goal achievement. The group is a place to come to learn tools and techniques, while supporting and encouraging each other to utilize skills to overcome challenges in changing our substance use.

SMART Recovery®

SMART Recovery® helps individuals gain independence from addictive behaviors. Our program is based on scientific knowledge and evolves as scientific knowledge evolves.


The SMART Recovery® 4-Point Program:

Part 1: Enhancing and Maintaining Motivation
Part 2: Coping with Urges
Part 3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors
Part 4: Living a Balanced Life

Meeting Information

Meetings will occur weekly on Wednesdays 6:30 to 7:30 via ZOOM

Attendance for each meeting IS NOT mandatory.

For more information or to register, please contact
Nadia DeRosa R.S.W. at 289-684-2656 or email at