Shape Your Life
More info: 416-787-1481 ext: 320 Boxing Project for Survivors of Violence
What is Shape Your Life?

SYL is a recreational boxing program for women and trans people who self-identify as survivors of violence. This project is a partnership between The Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club, Opportunity for Advancement, the June Callwood Centre for Women and Families and Brock University. SYL classes began in the Fall of 2007 and since that time more than 200 women, young women and trans people have taken part. Recently, SYL has also offered a special 6-week program to front-line workers and activists doing anti-violence work in their communities.

The May '09 issue of Chatelaine Magazine ran an article about one of the graduates of the Shape Your Life Program! >Download it here.

Why boxing for survivors of violence?

Physical exercise and sports can help our minds and bodies heal from the impact of violence and abuse. Being part of an empowering fitness environment can improve self-esteem and encourage positive changes in our lives. Survivors have a right to express the anger they feel at the injustices in their lives in ways that are positive and safe. Exploring healthy aggression in a safe space can help us express ourselves and build confidence. Boxing can help us get in touch with how strong we already are and contribute to building futures that are free of violence.

Where do the boxing classes happen?

The classes take place at The Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club, which is proudly known as the first women-led boxing club in Canada. The club is located at 388 Carlaw St, which is just south of Gerrard on the west side of the road. To get there by TTC, go to Pape Station and take the Pape South bus. Get off at the Badgerow stop, which is the first stop after Gerrard St - you’ll be let off right at the building.

When do the classes take place?

The Shape Your Life boxing classes take place once a week for two months. Classes are always full, so you must be registered in advance to attend. Call 416.787.1481 x320 to register.

Is childcare provided?

Yes. SYL aims to provide free childcare to all participants. The childcare space is located at the June Callwood Centre at 205 Parliament St. If you need childcare, please let the coordinator know when you register.

Is there a cost? What will I need to bring with me?

Shape Your Life is a free program. At each class, snacks, water and TTC will be provided. In addition, each participant will get a set of hand wraps to keep. Participants should come with comfortable workout clothes and runners if you have them. If you don’t, we will help you get used clothes and runners during the first few weeks of your classes.

Does the project provide any other supports to participants?

SYL understands that many women and trans people, particularly survivors of violence, face multiple barriers and challenges in their day-to-day lives. We aim to make the project as inclusive and accessible as possible so that even women/trans people with a lot on their plates can join.

SYL also aims to connect boxers with other neighbourhood services, programs and resources that will benefit them- be it in the area of housing, income supports, counselling, parenting help, healthcare, community legal services etc. Also, the SYL coaches and partner agencies are always on hand to listen and offer support.

What should I be doing between now and my start date to get ready to box?

The SYL boxing classes are designed for beginners, so you don’t need to be super fit or have any experience with sports in order to participate. That said, it’s always a good idea to be promoting your overall health and well-being by eating a nutritious diet, getting plenty of rest and doing some form of exercise such as walking or biking.

Who should I call if I have any other questions?

Feel free to call the coordinator, Jen Plyler-Danch, anytime at 416.787.1481 x320.
You can also call our agency partners: Opportunity for Advancement (416.787.1481) and ask for Joanne or the June Callwood Centre for Women and Families (416.365.1888) and ask for Anseh with any questions you have.