The YMCA Alternative Suspension program provides support and assistance to students who, for various reasons, are temporarily suspended from school.


The program aims to reduce future suspensions and disciplinary sanctions by offering participants an opportunity to transform their time away from school into a positive and restorative experience, fostering personal growth, autonomy and the development of social skills.




Daily Schedule for Alt Suspension Program

Participant Feedback

"I usually dread getting out of bed in the morning for school, but after my first day, I didn't dread getting out of bed to come to this program."


"I thought this program was meant to punish me for my suspension, but it was actually pretty fun."


"This program made me think about my actions and how I can handle them better in the future."

School Feedback

“This program not only gives students a space to go during their suspension, but the one-on-one approach is incredibly valuable for many of these students”


“At home suspensions are not effective in changing behaviours. This program ensures that students don’t fall behind in their academics, while also helping students identify  healthy coping skills and strategies to prevent future suspensions.” 

Frequently Asked Questions


  • The school decides to refer the student to the program
  • The school contacts the program youth worker to confirm the referral and set the date for the reintegration meeting.
  • The school contacts the parents to inform them of the suspension and requests permission to complete the referral.
  • The school sends the Essentials document and assigned schoolwork to the program.
  • The program youth worker contacts the parents to answer questions and prepare for the student's time in the program. 
  • Intake meeting on the student's 1st day.

AM: Schoolwork and 1-on-1 sessions (with each student)

PM: Group workshops based on reason(s) for referral

End of Day: The program youth worker contacts the school and parents to provide an update and to plan for the reintegration meeting.

Last Day: Preparation for return to school and reintegration meeting with all actors (student, school and parents)

  • Reintegration meeting at school, attended by the student, parents, school and youth worker.
  • The student is referred to other programs and services in their community.
  • 4 to 6 weeks later: The program youth worker conducts follow-up meetings with the student, parents and school.
  • 3 months later: The program youth worker conducts a follow-up with the school to evaluate the degree of problematic behaviour exhibited by the student since their time in the program.
  • During the summer: The student is invited to participate in various activities

The Alternative Suspension space is located in the Employment and Immigrant Services office at 25 Main Street West, Suite 105 in downtown Hamilton. 

Paid parking is available behind the building, as well as paid street parking on Jackson Street West between MacNab Street South and James Street South.

It is our policy that all students stay on property during the lunch break. Please ensure students bring a packed lunch to the program each day. A microwave and refrigerator are available on-site for students to use.

Contact Us:


To learn more about the YMCA Alternative Suspension Program

More Information

list of alt suspension workshop highlights

Y Mind Program

Y Mind is a free seven-week mental wellness program that supports teens ages 13 - 17, who are experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety or stress. Participants learn and practice evidence-based strategies to help manage anxiety.

Youth Transitions Program

The Youth Transitions Program provides youth (12 - 19) with community support during critical academic transitional points. 

The program offers a wide variety of services, including one-to-one support, life skills, workshops, and peer mentorship opportunities.

Youth Health and Fitness Programming

There are lots of ways to get moving at the Y. Play your favourite sports and games, register for swimming lessons, or try something new! Find more information about Child and Youth Health and Fitness Programming.