Women with disabilities are encouraged to participate in all aspects of Scarborough Women’s Centre. The Centre also provides an innovative outreach program for women with disabilities called Expanding the Reach. The aim of the program is to support women with disabilities to make positive changes in their lives and in their communities at large. Expanding the Reach program brochure
This is achieved by:
Providing women with disabilities with access to educational workshops and leadership development opportunities that increase knowledge and build skills
Increasing the accessibility and capacity of Scarborough Women’s Centre to respond to the unique needs of women with disabilities though community consultations, accessibility audits, ongoing training opportunities, and policy review
Our educational workshops are interactive and provide a space for women with disabilities to collectively develop problem solving skills, reduce isolation, and discuss the impact that various issues have on their lives. To date our workshops have addressed a variety of topics, including:
- Body image
- Healthy/unhealthy relationships
- Types and indicators of abuse
- Human rights
- Social networking
- Benefits of recreation
- Dating with a disability
To participate in the program, participants must self-identify as having a disability. The term disability covers a broad range and degree of conditions that may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time. Examples of disabilities may include:
- Visible and non-visible disabilities (e.g. physical, learning, speech, mental health, and environmental sensitivities)
- Disabilities of which the effects come and go (e.g. arthritis)
- Sensory disabilities (e.g. hearing and vision impairments)
- People who are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions
Participation in the program is voluntary
The following accommodations are provided at all program activities:
- Attendant care
- Light refreshments
- TTC tokens
Other accommodations may be provided upon request depending on program resources at the time of the request and are at the discretion of the Executive Director.
Please note that currently these accommodations are not available at our general workshops due to financial constraints.
Currently, women with disabilities make up 17% of the female population in Canada and that number is expected to increase as the population ages. Women with disabilities are also less likely to have access to education and employment opportunities. This means that women with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty. The likelihood and incidence for abuse in relationships is also higher for women with disabilities due to their status as a disabled woman, a lack of access to sexual health information, and the inability of services to meet the needs women with disabilities who may be experiencing violence.
To date, approximately 13% of SWC service users have disclosed that they live with some type of disability, including: vision impairment, hearing loss, heart disease, mobility disabilities, learning difficulties, intellectual disabilities, and mental illness. Program participants have shared that the workshops provide them with a safe space to build support networks, reduce isolation, and find validation in their experiences from other women with disabilities.
Program Contact Information
If you have questions or are interested in participating in the program, please contact Melissa at 416-439-7111 x 3 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This program is done in collaboration with Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre, East Scarborough Storefront, and Springtide Resources.
We are always interested in hearing about funders and donors who would like to help.