YWCA Muskoka – EmployABILITIES Program

“Infrastructure Expansion” Grant

2005 2008

As one of the youngest YWCAs in Canada, Muskoka’s chapter is also proving to be very innovative in its approach to programming. The EmployABILITIES Program for men has grown out of the organization’s commitment to providing support during those critical ‘turning points’ in women’s lives – periods of depression, unemployment, violence, grieving and poverty, for example.

This not-for-profit has always pursued a mandate that aims to provide services that can improve the lives of socially or economically at-risk women. What distinguishes this program is the YWCA’s willingness to literally take it to the people. They’ve recognized that transportation is a significant barrier to participation, so the organization actively goes into schools and local towns where there is clearly a need for these types of services.

It’s a strategy that is proving highly successful, so much so that the organization has adapted their programs for boys and men – the first of its kind for a YWCA. It is this sort of unique thinking and delivery of service that has caught the eye of the Foundation and earned the organization a grant to expand the scope of the program with men and boys. These sessions remain single gender to ensure all those partaking are in a comfortable and productive atmosphere.